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LETTERS to Fleet News’ editor Martyn Moore.

Revenue links to safety and speed?

YOUR story ‘Drivers face new list of hidden dangers’ (Fleet News, July 6) includes smoking as joint number one, yet in the text regarding proposals in the Road Safety Bill there is mention of penalty points for eating, drinking and reading behind the wheel, but not smoking.

Have the authors of the Bill decided to exempt smoking from their list of endorsable offences? If so, could this be linked with tax generated from cigarette sales?

Also, on the speed/safety issue, if the intention was to slow down vehicles at accident blackspots, this could be done with traffic lights linked to speed detectors, as in Spain.

Exceed the posted speed, lights turn to red and you have to stop. After you have experienced a few of these and endured the hostile glares from other drivers, you soon learn to comply with the speed limits.

There is no revenue generated by this system, so although it is 100% effective at speed reduction, it will never be adopted in this country. This proves cameras are not genuine safety devices, but cash-generation machines, reinforcing the view of seven in eight drivers quoted in the article.

Malcolm Andrews
Leavesley Containers

Heavy-handed road safety law is dangerously simple

I HAVE just read the latest Government proposals in the Road Safety Bill about fines and points for being caught eating or drinking.

The police have always had quite adequate tools to deal with the extreme examples given – charges of careless or dangerous driving.

They certainly don’t need even more legislation. Many company car drivers can see for themselves that this policy is a dangerous over-simplification.

The Government’s prescriptive micro-management by laws and rigid enforcement is well-promoted by the establishment side.

Despite the enormous increase in speeding fines and the slowing down of our road transport infrastructure by 16% or so, the gradual decline in killed and seriously injured statistics has been halted and even reversed. Hopefully we can see a more balanced view in the future.

Richard Ceen SeaTechnik

Tax idea aids all

RE: ‘Plan for van taxation changes, fleets urged’ (Fleet News June 29). I understood the taxation changes will allow home to work mileage as business use and, provided no other private use is allowed, no tax penalty will be imposed (see the tax office website www.hmrc.gov.uk/vans) Drivers should be better off. The company will save on fuel and we can prove no private use with our vehicle tracking. Mike Tewkesbury Fleet manager, Signpost Housing Group

DVLA mandate: good idea, wrong on timing

WE are mindful of the need to prove due diligence in checking our leased car drivers hold valid licences and recently investigated an alternative.

Instead of asking drivers to bring their licences in for inspection each year we considered completing a DVLA mandate authorising us to confirm licence status direct with the DVLA.

An additional cost of £5 per mandate returned was considered a much better arrangement, and savings in time and bureaucracy would offset the cost of not having to issue repeated reminders. Best of all, it would allow us to increase the frequency of licence checking and provide totally reliable current licence information.

I cannot fault the helpful replies received from the DVLA within only a few days of my first email but using the mandate is not as useful as hoped.

The problem is the mandates are only effective for three months after the date of signature. As the DVLA puts it, ‘any request for information will not be processed later than three months after the date of signature’. Instead of chasing a driver’s licence, we would have to chase him every year for the signed mandate and then pay the additional £5 to check information which might only be valid for three months.

We asked if the mandates could be altered to four years but were told this is not possible. I appreciate an open-ended mandate term would not be desirable but three months seems too restrictive and not a help to already pressed businesses.

Tina Jones Accountancy assistant Swale Borough Council

Duplicate entries on fuel cards can prove costly

IN response to the letter ‘Take heed of fuel card warning’, (Fleet News June 15), the warning should be noted, but the fuel card errors reported are part of a wider problem – duplicate entries. An overcharging of £2,400 over two years is not uncommon and is a relatively small error. We discovered a client who was able to reclaim £9,000 one month – not due to technical errors or higher values being invoiced but duplicate entries.

To avoid duplicate entries many companies tick off each car to ensure it is only entered once but this is very time consuming. Mileage capturing systems should have checking systems in place as standard.

Pence per mile reclaimed by drivers should also be checked. This should always fall between 9p and 16p.

Paul Jackson Managing director The Miles Consultancy

Free fuel rarely benefits everyone

I REFER to David Taylor’s letter published in Fleet News, July 6 regarding free private fuel in a company car.

The employee in the example receives (assuming the best case scenario) £2,180 worth of free fuel and pays only £1,209 in tax.

The employer has paid £2,567 for fuel and NIC in return for giving the employee a total net benefit of £971. That’s an effective tax hit of 62%. If the employer gave the employee £1,646 gross (£971 net) the employee would be no better or worse off, the employer would save £710 (after paying NIC on the £1,646). Only HMRC would lose out.

If the benefit were offered to this employee it would be in their best interests to take it. It is the offer of free private fuel that makes no financial sense – from the employer’s perspective. It is only in the most extreme cases the offer of free private fuel is a tax-efficient benefit for employer and employee.

Harvey Perkins, Director Client Technology Tax & People Services KPMG

Duplicate entries on fuel cards can prove costly

IN response to the letter ‘Take heed of fuel card warning’, (Fleet News June 15), the warning should be noted, but the fuel card errors reported are part of a wider problem – duplicate entries. An overcharging of £2,400 over two years is not uncommon and is a relatively small error.

We discovered a client who was able to reclaim £9,000 one month – not due to technical errors or higher values being invoiced but duplicate entries.

To avoid duplicate entries many companies tick off each car to ensure it is only entered once but this is very time consuming. Mileage capturing systems should have checking systems in place as standard.

Pence per mile reclaimed by drivers should also be checked. This should always fall between 9p and 16p.

Paul Jackson, Managing director, The Miles Consultancy

Free fuel rarely benefits everyone

I REFER to David Taylor’s letter published in Fleet News, July 6 regarding free private fuel in a company car.

The employee in the example receives (assuming the best case scenario) £2,180 worth of free fuel and pays only £1,209 in tax.

The employer has paid £2,567 for fuel and NIC in return for giving the employee a total net benefit of £971. That’s an effective tax hit of 62%. If the employer gave the employee £1,646 gross (£971 net) the employee would be no better or worse off, the employer would save £710 (after paying NIC on the £1,646). Only HMRC would lose out.

If the benefit were offered to this employee it would be in their best interests to take it. It is the offer of free private fuel that makes no financial sense – from the employer’s perspective. It is only in the most extreme cases the offer of free private fuel is a tax-efficient benefit for employer and employee.

Harvey Perkins, Director Client Technology, Tax & People Services KPMG

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