Fleet News

Lex fights for high mileage drivers

A CAMPAIGN aimed at winning a reprieve for thousands of high-mileage job-need company car drivers faced with paying hundreds of pounds more in benefit-in-kind tax from April 2002 is to be launched. Jon Walden, managing director of Lex Vehicle Leasing, one of the UK's largest contract hire companies with more than 93,000 vehicles, is to spearhead the move, which comes just 18 months before the new tax regime based on a combination of vehicle list price and carbon dioxide emissions is introduced.

He is to raise the issue with the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association which, he hopes, will take up the cudgels and lobby the Government and Inland Revenue for a concession. When announcing the new system, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown said it was aimed at halting 'up to 300 million extra miles being driven each year' due to drivers trying to break through the 2,500 and 18,000 business mileage tax thresholds in pursuit of lower tax bills which will be abolished. However, Walden has called on the Government to introduce a threshold at 20,000 miles in the new system to help essential users offset massively increased tax bills.

'It is iniquitous that someone driving 20,000, 30,000 or 40,000 miles a year on business should pay more benefit-in-kind tax. It is something we want to take up with the Government,' said Walden. He said he agreed with the Government's decision to abandon the current business mileage tax breaks and applauded the introduction of the environmentally-friendly company car tax.

However, he claimed: 'Employees who clock up more than 20,000 miles a year on business and often 30,000 or 40,000 miles do so because it is their job.' And added: 'I am not looking for a subsidy for these drivers or money being reimbursed but why can't the Government introduce a graduated structure based on a percentage of business to private mileage or a sliding scale scheme which is revenue neutral to help these people? I don't think it is too late for the Government to do something and find a way of helping high mileage drivers.'

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