The government stands accused of deliberately downplaying the effect of travel and subsistence changes after Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Sharp of Guildford unsuccessfully petitioned ministers for answers.

The baroness, a former economist, tabled a question in the House of Lords enquiring about the damage that could be caused to the education department when supply teachers are barred from claiming tax relief on T&S in response to a request for help from service provider trade association PRISM.

Speaking on behalf of the government, Lord O’Neill of Gatley was forced to admit that official estimates of the impact on schools and supply teachers had still not been made.

The YES2T&S campaign aims to resist the reforms, which mean that from April contractors will no longer be able to claim their usual home-to-work travel expenses.

PRISM argues that wage costs in numerous sectors, including healthcare, education, IT and construction, will be dramatically increased.

It also claims that in each of these sectors flexible contracting professionals, who receive tax relief due to the quick succession of temporary workplaces and lack of job security contracting entails, are faced with a 20 per cent pay cut overnight.

Supply teachers, such as those contracting through Umbrella Companies, will lose an average £3,252 a year, according to PRISM research.

Conveying his gratitude to Baroness Sharp for helping to raise the issue, PRISM CEO Crawford Temple dismissed Lord O’Neill’s claim that the reform will simply place supply teachers contracting through employment intermediaries on the same terms as other staff.

“The government may claim a level playing field, but you do not see ministers insisting that contractors are given the same perks and securities as full-time employees,” said Crawford.

“In fact, these rule changes could mean that full-time employees are able to claim more expenses than the contractors.”

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