Fleet News

Budget 1997: lull before the storm?

THE fleet industry has hailed Labour's first Budget for 18 years as the lull before the storm after the company car escaped the expected punitive tax rises. Following the collective sigh of relief, fleets believe the Labour Government's second Budget - to be held in the spring - could see the widespread introduction of new taxes and changes to existing taxes aimed at the company car.

The spring Budget will coincide with publication of the Government white paper on an integrated transport policy which will include a review of the three-year-old list-price based system of company car taxation in a bid to promote more environmentally responsible corporate travel. Other issues include a tax on company-provided car parking spaces and the provision of free fuel for private mileage. Fleet industry leaders have called for full consultation.

Association of Car Fleet Operators director Stewart Whyte said: 'ACFO will be seeking new representations to put the legitimate concerns of fleet operators across to the Chancellor.' And Norman Donkin, secretary general of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, said: 'The Budget was tame but we should not relax our guard. We will work closely with the Government on the forthcoming transport review.'

The RAC - in line with its stance as a mobility organisation - called for businesses to consider a mobility audit. A spokesman said: 'The Budget gives fleets a breather to make their case for the company car as an efficient tool of business, not a perk. The challenge for fleet operators now is to put their own house in order.'

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