When the measure was announced in the March Budget an implementation date of April 6, 1999 was given, but an amendment tabled shortly after the Budget brought the date forward a year. However, fleets have been unaware of the change, leading to calls for better communication from Government.
The changes were revealed in a letter to another MP from Dawn Primarolo, MP for Bristol South and financial secretary to the Treasury. This was passed to Malcolm Noyle, Vauxhall's alternative fuels manager, by a client. Noyle said: 'It seems that certain people know this is going on and the rest of the world does not. This is a critical issue for fleets and I am surprised nothing more was said at the time that the changes were being brought in early.'
The effects are significant. For example, a Vauxhall Vectra 2.0i 16v LS costs £15,605 on-the-road, while the equivalent LPG model costs £1,950 extra, at £17,555. Assuming the driver covers between 2,500 and 17,999 miles a year and pays tax at 23%, BIK payments for the petrol-powered car would be £1,131, or £94.28 a month, but before April 6 this year a dual-fuel version would have cost £1,236 for the same driver, £105 a year extra.