Fleet News has teamed up with ACFO and the BVRLA to launch the Fleet Industry Manifesto, a series of five topical debates with fleets, leasing companies and industry influencers, which is intended to create a fleet-sector manifesto wish-list to be shared with the main political parties ahead of the 2015 General Election.
The initiative has been warmly welcomed by the Department for Transport. Under secretary of state for transport Robert Goodwill told Fleet News the DFT would be “really interested” to see the Manifesto results.
“I’d be very keen to see what your priorities are, but also keen for you to shine the spotlight on the opposition parties to see if they would match some of our very ambitious [roads budget plans],” he said.
“We’re tripling the roads budget – £24 billion on road investment between 2010 and 2021.
“We’re currently running at double the average spend for the last parliament which I think shows a real commitment to improving the road network for both business and leisure users.”
ACFO and the BVRLA have achieved notable successes when lobbying government for change, not least in introducing quarterly updates for the Advisory Fuel Rate for business mileage reimbursement and changes to the mechanism used to calculate them; introduction of electronic vehicle registration and impending abolishment of the tax disc and driving licence paper counterpart; and heading off moves by HMRC to cut recoverable VAT on the vehicle leasing rate from 50% to 35/40%.
However, frequent changes in personnel at the key government departments and among Whitehall officials make it difficult to maintain a consistent relationship, not least due to the need to re-educate incoming ministers on the issues facing fleet operators and leasing and rental companies.
The Fleet Industry Manifesto will help to highlight the major concerns, enabling the main political parties to give them due consideration ahead of writing their own manifestos for the 2015 General Election (scheduled for May 7).
Fleet industry manifesto requests
- Commit to a feasibility study into a national road pricing scheme
Electric vehicles/ultra-low emission vehicles
- Agree the threshold for a ultra-low emissions vehicle and apply across tax regimes
- Commit to long-term support for ULEVs through incentives and infrastructure investment
Taxation and policy
- Harmonise all tax applications to the same CO2 threshold – i.e. VED, BIK/NIC, AFRs
- Encourage drivers to move from grey fleet into company cars, including changes to the AMAP policy
- Reinstate 100% FYA for leasing companies on low emission cars
Skills and training
- Create a two-tier CPC standard for transport managers
- Consultation on car drivers’ ability to drive 3.5-tonne vehicles. Question: should there be a separate provisional licence/driving test?
Parking and appeals
- Harmonise local authorities’ approach to parking penalties and the appeals process to create a nationwide standard
- Create an online portal with dashboard to view parking penalties and appeals
- Commitment to improve communication from DVLA/DVSA during new projects and publicity when new initiatives are launched
- Continuous focus on removing unnecessary paperwork and bureaucracy and replacing them with electronic services and data
Road safety and duty of care
- Include reporting of at-work vehicle crashes within RIDDOR
- Re-introduce Government road safety targets
- Consider tax-based incentives to encourage the uptake of vehicle safety technology by fleets and company car drivers
- Require drivers to sign a mandate allowing employers to check licences as part of the criteria for passing a driving test
- Promote the use of open, common data standards that will enable fleets to access safety-related vehicle information in real time
- Redesign the HSE’s Driving at Work guide to give it greater impact and ensure it is distributed more widely in print or digital form
- Widen the use of the Automatic Number Plate Recognition system for enforcement on driving licences and insurance
View all manifesto round tables
Read the final manifesto document
Tax and emissions
Red tape and regulation
Road safety and duty of care
Road networks and infrastructure