Fleet News

Keep on lobbying in run-up to white paper

THE fleet industry must continue its intensive lobbying of the Government in the run-up to the May publication of the integrated transport white paper. As the fleet industry and the wider motor industry congratulated itself on effectively 'seeing-off' the anti-car lobby in the Budget there have been warnings from all sides that complacency must not set in amid fears that additional measures to hit the company car could be in the offing.

The white paper will contain Government proposals for replacing the existing company car business mileage discounts with discounts for driving fewer private miles in company cars as outlined in the Budget. It will include further clues as to the future shape of the proposed graduated vehicle excise duty system for cars to be introduced on April 1, 1999, which transport minister Gavin Strang announced on Monday.

BVRLA director general Norman Donkin met with DETR officials days before the Budget to reinforce the industry's case and defend the company car's position as vital to the economy. Donkin said: 'Persistent lobbying would appear to be paying dividends, evidenced by the Budget,' said Donkin. 'But there is no complacency in the BVRLA camp. The lobbying will continue with the same intensity.'

ACFO chairman Tony Leigh said: 'There are many issues to be resolved. The Budget signalled the way ahead for both company car mileage and vehicle excise duty but there is much to discuss. We have already spoken with the DETR and the Inland Revenue and we are a member of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency working group - there is much to do to ensure fleets and the company car are not penalised.'

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