Northumberland County Council has introduced a salary sacrifice car scheme for up to 6,000 staff to give them a wider choice of benefits and to reduce their carbon footprint in conjunction with salary sacrifice specialist, Tusker.

The new Smart Flexible Car Scheme joins other flexible benefits that the council offers to employees, including Smart training, Smart parking and Smart subscriptions.

The council will also be encouraging employees who qualify for cash allowances under an existing company car lease scheme or who receive mileage allowances to look at the benefits of the new salary sacrifice car scheme.

Northumberland County Council was able to take advantage of a Pan Government Collaborative Framework Agreement, first established last year by North Yorkshire County Council, in association with Tusker's salary sacrifice car scheme, SalarySacrifice4Cars (SS4C).

This provided Northumberland with all the details of the scheme it required without having to go out to the market via a tender exercise, saving it valuable time, money and resources.

A Northumberland County Council spokesman said: 'Basically, we wanted to support our employees, in these difficult and challenging economic times, and provide them with a wider choice of flexible benefits within the Council's portfolio of Smart Flexible Benefits, while at the same time encouraging staff to choose lower emitting cars and reduce their carbon footprint.

'The "green" issue is important to us all and, as a responsible employer, we should do everything possible to reduce emissions.  If a proportion of the Council's staff switch to low emission cars for personal and work-related miles, this will make an impact on carbon emissions in the county.

'The scheme has been very well received and we have communicated it to staff via a variety of emails, staff newsletters and letters to employees, and we are planning series of roadshows with Tusker,' he said.

Tusker managing director David Hosking said: 'We are delighted to welcome Northumberland County Council to a growing number of councils and other public sector bodies who have taken advantage of the Pan European Framework Agreement to find a suitable salary sacrifice car scheme, and that SS4C has met the Council's requirements for their employees perfectly.'