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LETTERS to Fleet News’ editor John Maslen.

Cash plans need proper controls

SIR – The recent ‘Cars, Cash, Care and Control’ survey (Fleet News, June 2) shows employers are looking more closely at how they structure their company car policies.

It is no longer appropriate to simply install a blanket scheme, or even to group employees together into ‘car bands’. Employee benefits have become much more sophisticated and individuals expect to be treated as individuals.

Unfortunately, in some instances, this has led employers to remove the car and replace it with cash. This not only leaves employees at a disadvantage (they now have total financial and administrative responsibility for their vehicle), it also exposes the employer to unnecessary risk if the employees need to use their cars for work.

If cash is to be offered to employees who need a car in order to do their job, then employers must install appropriate control and procedures to ensure that everyone is protected. For example, cars have to be fit for purpose – properly insured and maintained.

Employers are now able to utilise the services of companies that specialise in ‘driver management’, offering structured cash-for-car schemes, such as employee car ownership.

Employers can also offer cash in lieu of a company car and ensure that the cash is used to buy a suitable company car replacement, owned by the employee. By introducing proper controls to a cash scheme, the employer is protected, and employees benefit from having the freedom of their own vehicles within a fixed and managed budget.

Nick Sutton
Chairman, Provecta Car Plan

Care guidelines must be made clear

SIR – Peter Cooke’s ‘Cars, Cash, Care and Control’ report (Fleet NewsNet, June 2) proves there is a clear lack of understanding by companies of their duty of care obligations and that clearer guidelines are needed.

Therefore, it is more important than ever that the Government prioritises the Corporate Manslaughter Bill through Parliament to ensure this happens.

In the meantime, vehicle rental is already playing a vital role in supporting duty of care responsibilities across all sizes of business that have differing transport needs.

Daily vehicle rental, mid to long-term rental, pool car fleets, telematics and key-fob facilities (to record personal versus business mileage) are all helping businesses meet their duty of care obligations.

The cost of daily rental to a business is minimal compared with the potential cost – emotionally and financially – of a member of staff being involved in an accident.

The sheer fact that daily rental is so flexible makes it a very viable solution for businesses who need to get their staff out on the road in the knowledge that they are in safe, fit for purpose and reliable vehicles.

Neil McCrossan
Vice-president, Commercial Development

There’s an easier way

SIR – This Government does not have a clue how to solve the country’s congestion crisis. It believes that if it taxes motorists out of their cars, the roads will empty.

All this will actually achieve is more money for the Treasury.

If the scheme goes ahead, it will be at the expense of fleets and company cars, vans and trucks. Companies will go bust, unemployment will rise and people will not be able to afford the pay-per-mile rates.

Businesses simply will not be able to get their employees to work as public transport is diabolical in most parts of the country.

The Government seems to have forgetten about the people who live outside cities – how do they get to work?

The low-mileage driver will be the least affected, but there will be a serious financial penalty for anyone doing more than average mileage.

Companies will have to look at the financial effects this will have on their business – and the price of everything is bound to go up as a result.

Of course, compensation could be given to deserving cases, but that means many more Government offices will be required to run such a scheme. Can you imagine the nightmare of deciding exactly who is entitled to what?

The people working to sustain the country now will be turned into Civil Service clones to administer this idea.

This Government’s record for the type of technology that will be required is abysmal – the hardware required will not only will be expensive for each vehicle but it will also be reasonably easy to get fool.

Every IT system this Government has initiated has either been scrapped or fraught with costly problems.

There simpler and cheaper ways to clear congestion: increase motorway speed limits at quiet times; switch off non-essential speed cameras at quiet times; decrease the number of speed cameras to reduce camera-related tailbacks; limit trucks in city centres during the day; and ensure wide and slow loads only travel between midnight and 6am.

Les Tasker
Auto Keys (Nationwide)

Take a tip from the Swiss vignettes

SIR – The Government is missing a potential revenue stream from foreign visitors and trucks. They use and block our roads at our expense. A far simpler, non sat-nav route to motorway charging would be to adopt the Swiss-style stickable ‘vignettes’.

These could be issued instead of tax discs from the normal sources for UK residents. The vehicle number plate would be printed on it. Price would be graduated, based on CO2, vehicle size and type of use.

Identification would be as per the existing system, but discs could have a different shape – round for all uses and square for non-motorway use only. This could also tie-in to insurance, ownership and MoT verification.

All foreign vehicles would have to buy an annual motorway vignette at the port of entry, as they do in Switzerland. Trucks and vans would pay more than cars. Then perhaps we could all benefit from lower fuel prices like our Euro friends.

Simon Schlaefli
Managing director, Tenable Screw Co, London

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