Fleet News

Labour raises transport and 'green' profile

TRANSPORT and environmental issues have leapfrogged up the agenda as a result of the Labour Party's general election triumph and deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's appointment as head of a new super ministry overseeing both areas. The Association of Car Fleet Operators and the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association have both pledged to hold early talks with Prescott and his colleagues.

Initial reaction from the industry to Labour's 179-seat majority was mixed, with BVRLA general secretary Norman Donkin expressing concern that the new Government could introduce changes in the VAT treatment of new cars and introduce a luxury rate of tax on gas guzzlers. However, ACFO director Stewart Whyte said if the Labour Party stuck to its pre-election policies he saw no risks facing either fleet managers or company car drivers.

With Prescott heading up a new Whitehall super ministry it is clear the new Government is to try to combine transport and environmental strategies. This could result in far-reaching policies involving further increases in fuel prices, encouragement for low emission, smaller engined vehicles, and simultaneously the introduction of a harsher tax regime on gas-guzzlers, changes in the 2,500 and 18,000 business mileage tax breaks, and further encouragement for vehicles powered by alternative fuels.

New Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown is expected to hold a mini-budget within the next two months when details of the Government's transport and environmental policies are likely to be revealed.

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