Fleet News

Transport minister hails manifesto as ‘excellent’

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The Fleet Industry Manifesto report was launched last week at the House of Lords by Fleet News, ACFO and the BVRLA to MPs representing the three main political parties.

The report, the culmination of an eight-month project, calls on the next Government to tackle a number of important issues facing the fleet and leasing sector, including tax, red tape, safety and road infrastructure.

Fleet News editor-in-chief Stephen Briers, who together with ACFO and the BVRLA was instrumental in the creation of the Fleet Industry Manifesto, said: “This report is intended to spark discussion and debate and inform the policy decisions of the main political parties ahead of the General Election on May 7, 2015.

“It is the first time that we have brought together companies representing all aspects of the fleet sector, from fleet operators to leasing and rental, to agree common consensus on the big issues facing their businesses.”

ACFO chairman John Pryor added: “ACFO supports the aims and objectives of this manifesto in delvering a strong future for fleets in keeping the UK moving.”

Referring to the manifesto as “an excellent paper”, transport minister John Hayes MP acknowledged the need for Government to be more dynamic in order to respond to the changing needs of the business community.

“Our strategy has to be flexible enough to respond to changing, ongoing dynamism,” he said. “This report makes some good points on regulation. I want as little as possible other than to address safety. Government has to know when to step back as well as forward.

“I understand the point about tax. It is important not to create a burden on business that will inhibit their success. You are valued contributors to the economy and  we can’t stand in the way of success. I acknowledge and recognise that.”

Hayes also referred to the Manifesto request for joined-up Government thinking when it comes to facilitating investment into autonomous cars, investment into roads infrastructure and road safety.

“It’s important that we take advantage of the experience of best government when departments work together and joint working within departments, for example road, rail and airport,” he said.

“We don’t always get it right, but there is a need for joined-up thinking coupled with determination.”

BVRLA chairman Gerry Keaney, in outlining the Manifesto report’s key recommendations, praised the Government’s pledge of £15 billion into the strategic road network – one of the policies contained within the report.

“We applaud the long-term commitment to road network investment,” he said. “This sector buys more than one million cars a year and remarkets one million a year to the used market. We have a key role in putting more green or safe cars into the market – we can offer a short-term solution.”

Hayes said the road investment plan followed a series of feasibility studies into where and how the money should be invested to “best effect”.

He added: “A five-year road strategy is very unusual. In the past we have been too ad hoc, too reactive. This change is indicative of the Government’s understanding that the roads are critically important to the economy and to industry.”

To read the Fleet Industry Manifesto Report, go to fleetnews.co.uk/manifesto


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