Fleet News

Fleets ask Labour for new fuel duty review

AS Labour begins its third consecutive term, the fleet and motoring industry is calling for a review of fuel duty increases.

Issues including fuel and environmental concerns have been highlighted by industry as it calls on Labour to consider businesses in its proposals.

Leading industry groups have highlighted fuel as the main issue. The Forum of Private Business (FPB), which represents small-to-medium sized businesses, has called for Tony Blair to scrap fuel duty increases.

The Association of Car Fleet Operators (ACFO) agrees and says that the first indication of the new Government’s attitude will be its decision whether or not to impose the fuel duty rise announced in the last Budget.

ACFO director Stewart Whyte said: ‘The 1.22p a litre increase on petrol and diesel was delayed because of fuel price volatility. That volatility has continued unabated and pump prices are accelerating rapidly. The planned duty increase should be cancelled as fuel costs are already crippling many businesses.’

Labour’s victory will also mean a continued push with environmental concern, according to LeasePlan executives.

Managing director Kevin McNally said: ‘There is likely to be no change to the emissions-based benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax system on company cars. However, the other parties promised changes to Vehicle Excise Duty, so we’ll have to see if Labour follows their lead or if it remains the same.’

However, ACFO says the Government must not treat the fleet industry as a ‘cash cow’ to fund the potential black hole in the economy.

Whyte said: ‘While we expect the Government to continue its ‘green’ taxation agenda, this must not outpace readily available engine technology. Vehicle manufacturers are producing more and more environmentally-friendly vehicles.

‘Companies will lead in introducing these on to their fleets, but we must have a realistic tax system, company car tax and VED that runs parallel with, and not ahead, of the technology and engineering.’

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