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Education chiefs unaware of tax change impact on supply teachers

This is despite research showing supply teachers engaged as contractors will on average lose &pound62.56 per week - an overnight real terms pay cut of &pound3,253 a year, PRISM claims.

The changes to travel expenses will result in the recruitment crisis in teaching becoming “an unmanageable burden with huge cost implications”, the trade body warns.

A bid to largely axe access to travel and subsistence relief will hit up to 1.6m contractors in April - tens of thousands of them expected to be teachers.

PRISM asked the Department for Education how many agency teachers were employed in the nation’s schools.

It responded by saying it did not know, adding, “No impact assessment has currently been made on the current level of spending on agency workers in the context of HMRC's intended proposals for changes to the Travel & Subsistence allowance.”

Latest figures reveal the number of teachers leaving the profession hit a record 49,120 in the year to November 2014.

Crawford Temple, CEO of PRISM, whose members service the needs of contractors, warned education bosses they were not taking the threat posed to recruitment seriously.

He said, “If you are a Government department struggling to fill posts the key thing you must not do is make it even harder for people to justify remaining in the profession.

“For the Department for Education not to ensure it knows exactly how many teachers working in its schools will be affected is surely reckless at best.

“It is a wait and see approach when the most obvious consequence of these changes is that fewer supply teachers will be willing to travel for less pay with no job security and no access to the same sick, holiday and pension rights as regular teachers.

“It will produce an unmanageable burden with huge cost implications for schools who rely on these temporary staff when they are short-staffed or lose staff. Headteachers will find it more difficult to fill those posts and costs will inevitably go up forcing down the quality of provision for pupils.”

Nationally, PRISM has warned that contractors face an average 20% cut in take-home pay once the new rules come into effect. It fears employers face a &pound7bn bill if they are forced to make up the shortfall across all sectors.

PRISM recently launched its Yes2T&S campaign aimed at forcing a u-turn in Chancellor George Osborne and Financial Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke’s plans to slash the ability of contractors to claim travel expense from home to temporary workplaces.

Each temporary workplace will be deemed permanent if it is the only location a contractor visits for that employer from April.

The change will apply to anyone who falls under the “supervision, direction, or control” of anyone they work with. PRISM argues this definition is too vague and will catch all workers and cost them thousands of pounds a year.  

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