Association of Car Fleet Operators' director and fleet industry consultant Stewart Whyte immediately claimed that by not making any announcement on company cars it signalled there would be no announcement in the spring Budget. He said: 'By not raising anything in the pre-Budget statement, the Chancellor has left the fleet industry still unclear as to whether he plans to make any changes to the company car tax system. The fleet industry must now assume that the Chancellor is not going to bring about a sudden change in the Budget next March - to do so would be patently unfair and unjust.'
And that view was immediately supported by Norman Donkin, secretary general of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, who claimed the Government would not make any announcement on company car tax changes until after it had analysed the responses to its integrated transport policy consultation document. It has emerged that the transport white paper, which will be compiled following the consultation exercise, will not be published until after the spring Budget and Donkin said: 'Given everything the Government has said about consultation I think they will talk to the fleet industry if they are proposing changes. The national media hype on changes to the mileage bands was alarmist. However, we must be vigilant but I think if there are to be changes they are more likely to be in the 1999 Budget than the 1998 Budget - after the white paper.'