Fleet News

Budget 2005: Industry welcomes Brown’s steady-as-she-goes Budget

WELCOMING the freeze on company car tax for 2007/08 and the decision to hold the company car fuel benefit charge at £14,400, Association of Car Fleet Operators (ACFO) director Stewart Whyte said: ‘Fleet operators must have a realistic time-frame against which to plan their strategies. Major reviews to fleet policies normally only take place every five to eight years and we had urged the Chancellor not to rock the boat for political expediency.

‘If HM Treasury keeps changing the major factors involved in fleet planning, companies will face huge internal policy realignment, aggravation and costs.’

Edmund King, executive director, RAC Foundation

‘The Chancellor has shown prudence at the pumps. Freezing the level of fuel duty will help the Government to regain the confidence of motorists, but will still leave drivers vulnerable to world petrol price rises.

‘Fuel duty is a regressive tax which hits those hardest who can least afford it. The Chancellor has already benefited from increased VAT receipts owing to the higher cost of fuel.

‘The Chancellor has been shrewd as well as prudent with this Budget. He obviously is aware of the voting power of 32 million motorists around the country.’

Ray Holloway, petrol retailers director for the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI)

‘The chancellor has donned velvet gloves for this Budget, but regardless of who wins in May, there will be a post-General Election Budget, then all bets will be off.’

Kevin McNally, managing director, LeasePlan

‘Freezing company car tax is helpful for the millions of UK business drivers, although it would have been useful to see more done to encourage employees into company cars – which are invariably newer, safer and more environmentally friendly than private vehicles.’

Tom Fidell, director general, LP Gas Association

‘This is a clear message of support for LPG for the long term and the improved economic incentive should give fleet managers the confidence to purchase LPG vehicles and contribute to a cleaner motoring environment.’

Nick Goulding, chief executive, Forum of Private Business

‘The FPB welcomes the delay in increasing fuel duty until December.

‘However we would rather the duty increase was scrapped altogether for the entirety of the financial year.’

Terry Bartlett, managing director, Inchcape Fleet Solutions

‘In the build-up to the Budget there was much talk of cuts in the tax-free Inland Revenue approved mileage rates paid to employees who use their own cars on business.

‘The rates are also instrumental in the calculation of cash alternative schemes to the company car.

‘The Chancellor’s decision to ignore those pleas and leave the mileage rates well alone is good news for all.’

Garry Hobson, managing director, Interleasing

‘The fact that the Chancellor did not mention AMAPs in the Budget is good news for employee car ownership schemes and these will continue to be fiscally attractive to businesses.’

Chris Davies, head of marketing, AA Business Services (AABS)

‘This is a steady-as-she-goes Budget with few surprises which is to be expected in what many are predicting as an election year.’

Greg Archer, director, Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP)

‘The realignment of VED rates to reflect the bandings for the new car environment label are a step in the right direction.

‘Car buyers will get a much clearer signal that low carbon cars are both greener and becoming considerably cheaper to run.’

Rich Green, managing director, GE Commercial Finance, Fleet Services

‘We broadly welcome the moves that the Government has made on freezing company car taxation and VED and on postponing fuel duty. All of these are good news for UK businesses and the drivers of their company vehicles.’

Rebecca Bell, head of public relations, RAC

‘Motorists will welcome this pre-election freeze on fuel tax. However, they won’t be looking forward to the post-election increase. For many drivers, particularly if they live in rural areas or need their cars to earn a living, cars are not a luxury but an essential.’

Sean Bingham, director of new business, Bank of Scotland Corporate Vehicle Finance

‘Our research goes against the Government’s view that the cost of motoring has fallen to below 1990 levels, which in turn supports the Inland Revenue’s evaluation findings from April 2004 showing that business mileage has reduced. Research strongly points to the fact that not only has the cost of motoring increased but also business mileage too.’

Keith Allen, managing director, ALD Automotive

‘Long term planning and budgeting is essential for both businesses and employees and the decision not to increase benefit-in-kind tax thresholds – notwithstanding December 2004’s pre-Budget decision to withdraw the waiver of the 3% supplement for diesel cars meeting Euro IV standards from January 1, 2006 – will ensure that the company car remains an efficient and effective part of the remuneration package.’

‘The 2005 Budget is a welcome reprieve from the continuing rise of stealth taxes aimed at drivers. However, I fear that it may only be a postponement of a further fiscal assault on company car drivers and motorists in general next year.’

Nick Brown, managing director, Black i Vehicle Management

‘The 2005 Budget is a welcome reprieve from the continuing rise of stealth taxes aimed at drivers. However, I fear that it may only be a postponement of a further fiscal assault on company car drivers and motorists in general next year.’

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