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Budget Met With Mixed Views From The Nation's Fleets

The Chancellor's 2014 Budget held mixed fortunes and missed opportunities according to the heads of some of the nation's leading fleet operators.

Martin Brown, Managing Director at Fleet Alliance, which manages around 14,000 vehicles on behalf of corporate clients, welcomed the cancellation of the increase in fuel duty planned for September. But Brown said the 2% rise in the rate of company car tax in 2017/18 and 2018/19 is unwelcome as it is yet another tax on businesses and their employees.

He said: “What these measures continue to do is to underline the importance of selecting the right company cars for your fleet that are both fuel and tax efficient.

“That means careful selection of models with low fuel consumption to keep fuel bills in check and those with as low carbon emissions as possible to benefit from lower rates of company car tax, national insurance and VED.
“That means careful fleet planning now for the changes that take effect in three years and prudent selection of vehicles with low whole life costs.”

Meanwhile, the Chancellor has missed a major opportunity to support ultra-low emission vehicles in his 2014 Budget, that's according to the trade body for vehicle rental, BVRLA.

Commenting on the measures announced by George Osborne this month, BVRLA Chief Executive Gerry Keaney, said: “The Chancellor talked about extending support for low emission vehicles, but there is precious little evidence for that in this Budget.

“The electric vehicle market is still in the doldrums, and the current incentive regime isn’t working.

“The new company car tax rates announced today will do nothing to encourage fleets and their drivers to take a risk on this costly and uncertain technology.

“A business driver thinking about choosing an expensive zero-emission vehicle this year will see their company car tax rate rise from nothing to 13% within four years. Their cost of motoring will rise much faster than someone choosing a gas guzzler.

Elsewhere in the Budget, the BVRLA reportedly acknowledged the decision to provide an extra £200m for pothole repairs and freeze fuel duty.

Mr Keaney, added: “Poorly maintained and repaired roads are the cholesterol clogging up the vital transport arteries of the UK economy.

“The Government has realised we have a problem, but providing just an extra £200 million for local authority pothole repairs is not nearly enough.

“Similarly, the road haulage industry needs a cut in fuel duty, not a freeze.”

The BVRLA has pledged to work with the Government to ensure that its attempts to simplify payroll benefits and expenses do not penalise fleet operators and company car drivers.


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