Fleet News

Rental operators demand tax breaks for car clubs

TWO of the country's biggest daily rental firms have joined forces to lobby for tax dispensations for companies which adopt car club schemes if workplace parking and congestion charging proposals become reality.

Budget Car and Van Rental runs a City Car Club scheme, launched in Edinburgh and set to be rolled out in London this autumn, while Avis Rent a Car's CARveniece scheme went into action in Oxford last week.

Both schemes offer the use of cars parked at strategic locations, with members paying an hourly rate - reducing car dependency among the public and businesses - a key Government transport objective. Both companies see growth in the projects through winning business support, enabling companies to reduce or do away with pool car fleets.

Budget's deputy managing director, Roddy Graham, believes the City Car Club combined with another newly-launched 'green' initiative, driveshare, gives it the complete package to meet the needs of a company looking for a way to avoid 'environmental taxes' like workplace parking and congestion charging - and this should be acknowledged by the Government.

Driveshare was launched last summer and sees Budget, with its sister-company Vipre, offering the use of a luxury minibus or large saloon car to employees for their journeys to and from work. Passengers share the cost of the rental and fuel costs.

Graham said: 'This is the solution to a number of companies which are finding they are not allowed to build new car parks on existing sites or are finding the number of parking spaces on new developments limited by planning constraints. I hope there would be a 'legislative exemption' for parking spaces on company premises reserved for City Car Club cars.'

Nigel White, head of corporate sales at Avis UK, added: 'I would expect some acknowledgement from Government of the impact CARvenience can play in reducing car ownership. Getting to work is not really a problem because employees tend to be located near rail or bus hubs.

'The difficulty lies with doing business without a car. But our scheme would mean that rather than long-term rental of a pool car fleet, an employer can pay purely on usage of the car.'

The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions passed the decision on exemptions to local authorities. A DETR spokesman said: 'We've not given any steer on exemptions, apart from suggesting NHS properties are not charged. It's up to local authorities to decide and up to businesses to make their case.

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