The increase by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) takes effect from May 1. Further increases will be introduced on April 1, 2008, and April 1, 2009. The levels of the increases have not yet been fixed.
Both ACFO and the BVRLA have claimed the increases, which will cost some large fleets thousands of pounds, bear no relation to the actual administrative cost of registering each new car, and instead are a revenue-gathering tool for other, underfunded, parts of the DVLA.
A spokesman for ACFO said: ‘The DVLA was deaf to all opinions during the consultation and breaches the convention relating to the fact that driver licensing parts of the department should pay for driver licensing and vehicle licensing should pay for vehicle licensing.
‘This is a case of using fleets and new car buyers to pay for shortfalls in driver licensing.’
John Lewis, director general of the BVRLA added: ‘The 32% increase in the first registration fee is a cock-eyed attempt by the DVLA to try and balance its books.
‘To attempt to recover that shortfall by charging more for its vehicle registration services is simply intolerable. Not only is it intolerable, it’s blatantly unjust.
‘In reality, it’s not people who will pay the majority of this unwarranted increase, it’s businesses. ‘Businesses now buy nearly three-quarters of all new cars and it’s they who will be impacted most.
But businesses don’t have votes; drivers do and that’s where I believe this is coming from.’
Many carmakers are currently reviewing whether they will absorb the cost themselves or pass it on to their customers.