Although much of the past year I was tied up with my Employment Tribunal, I was told recently by the Job Centre that my geographical job search must now cover a travelling radius of 90 minutes, i.e. 180 minutes per day - three hours!
I think that if you are a high flying executive or other top earner, a 90 minute commute may be of little concern but if you are expected to work for National Minimum Wage for say, 40 hours per week, these factors have an unsettling effect on the actual numbers.
For example, in my car, I get about 40 miles per gallon on a long journey and if I am lucky enough to be able to average 50mph, I would be expected to travel 150 miles per day using about four gallons of petrol at a current cost of about £28. Over five days, that would be £140. On National Minimum Wage, 40 hours work would gross £243.20 or about £210 net. After paying for fuel, that would leave me with £70 per week. Well, my rent is £90 per week! Supposedly, if you are earning National Minimum wage, you ought to be independent of benefits and they would not factor in travelling expenses anyway.
But, if you were to include the three hours commuting in the working week, the hourly rate then falls to £4.42. Alright, I know that travelling time does not count as working time but it is an important perspective from which to view the situation. In my last job, I travelled an hour per day to work and my hourly rate was over £11.00 - so my effective hourly 'away from home' rate was still a very attractive £9.78 per hour. This may not mean much to bean counters or Daily Mail readers but the effect on morale is profound.