Sheffield Council leader hopes offering staff an electric car will help tackle staff shortages

A leading councillor said a new scheme whereby Sheffield Council employees take a pay cut in return for a new electric car could help fill staff shortages.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 3:40 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd October 2021, 3:40 pm

Councillor Cate McDonald, co-operative executive member for finance and resources, gave her views on the scheme during a leaders meeting this week before it was formally approved.

She said: “This is a really significant thing in terms of staff retention and attracting staff because in several areas there are quite a lot of staff shortages.

“We can’t keep escalating salaries and financial offers but this is a really good indication of a whole package which would make Sheffield a very attractive employer.

Councillor Cate McDonald.

“So I welcome it from that perspective as well.

“It is a good opportunity for us to put all of our offer together and use it to promote Sheffield as a good employer alongside the fair wages that we pay as well.”

The salary sacrifice scheme forms part of a range of measures to reduce the number of car journeys council workers make which include increasing working from home and an e-bike cycling programme.

Coun Douglas Johnson, executive member for climate change, environment and transport, said: “I’m pleased to see this coming forward. It helps to switch over petrol and diesel to electric vehicles for those who need it.

“It’s not a criticism because I think we have addressed it in previous discussions about the need to not fall into the trap of thinking that electric cars are the answer to everything.

“They still lead to congestion, they still lead to pollution through particulate matter and there are schemes that are already provided through the council that support people with loans and purchases of e-bikes and there is information and support that is given to people about walking and public transport.

“I just wanted to offer reassurance that all of those options are going to be promoted to our staff as much as this because if we can get people out of vehicles altogether that’s always a help where people can do that.

“But generally, I’m glad to see this scheme come forward.”

To get a new, fully maintained and insured electric car that comes at a lower cost than on the market, council staff must agree to a reduction in their salary which will be by the value of a monthly lease

Employees will get to choose a vehicle online through the leasing company, likely to be Tusker, and they can add additional drivers to the policy.

Eugene Walker, executive director of resources, said it would not only benefit the environment, but result in savings on tax, national insurance and pension contributions.

The scheme will run for four years and an employee will be able to take out a lease agreement at any point during that four year period and buy the car from the leasing company if they leave.

The council declared a climate emergency and set a target to become net zero by 2030 in a full council meeting in 2019.