Fleet News

Tax talks planned by Somerfield as tide flows against the free fuel perk

SUPERMARKET giant Somerfield is about to launch a series of roadshows to explain to its staff the impact of the 1999 Budget on their benefit-in-kind tax bills. After attending the Fleet News Budget Breakfast, Somerfield executive Doug Brown decided his company's drivers needed information on the full implications of the tax changes.

'We need to educate our drivers on how their tax is affected and what the mileage limits are below which it's not worth accepting free fuel for private mileage,' he said. He believes that within two years it will no longer make financial sense for most of Somerfield's 40% tax payers to accept free fuel, and that the timescale is only five years for 23% tax payers.

Somerfield's 1,000-strong user-chooser diesel fleet has undergone significant change in recent months following the integration of Kwik-Save's solus petrol fleet of 600 cars. The new fleet policy is dual badge Peugeot and Renault for all the 1,400 volume cars, and has retained Somerfield's diesel policy.

'Diesel is still cheaper because of its fuel efficiency and wholelife costs,' said Brown. He added that Somerfield had enhanced its cash allowance alternative to the company car, funding the increase through the savings achieved via its dual-badge policy. Alternatively, drivers can downsize from the grade of car to which they are entitled to a smaller car, and pocket the financial savings as a non-pensionable salary supplement.

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