Tim Bowden, head of operations, Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions, comments on the Budget.
“No great surprises from Alistair Darling, who did his best not to rock the boat ahead of the impending general election.
“It was good to see April’s proposed 3p fuel duty increase partially deferred to soften the blow. Though let’s remember the Government did not reverse the previous increase put in place when VAT was at 15%, so this still represents a double blow for motorists.
“The creation of a ‘green bank’ with £2bn to spend on greener energy and transport initiatives is to be welcomed, though the focus will be on wind turbines initially. And there is still no clarity on the proposed zero benefit-in-kind rate for electric cars. Will we see the same incentive applied to plug-in hybrids as pure electric vehicles?
“On the whole, it feels like a slightly pointless exercise so close to the election. What the fleet industry needs is a more cohesive strategy on environmentally-friendly vehicles, with some tangible plans to install the infrastructure to support widespread adoption. I’d also like to see the three per cent benefit-in-kind surcharge on diesel company cars scrapped. Let’s hope the newly elected Government will be a bit more bullish.”