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Matthew Clark switches from cash allowance to company cars

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Drinks wholesaler Matthew Clark has moved the funding and management of its fleet to Zenith, from a previous cash allowance only arrangement.

The new car scheme is being provided to 160 business need drivers.

One of the key aims of moving from a cash allowance to a company car scheme was to provide an improved choice for employees and minimise the impact and responsibility of running their own car.

Matthew Clark was keen to deliver a car scheme that was competitive within the marketplace, to help recruit and retain the best employees.

An attractive car list has been devised and drivers now have a choice from a number of premium brands.

Other important issues addressed by the change included duty of care and safety. Moving business need drivers from a ‘grey fleet’ to company cars means that they can be provided with new, fully maintained vehicles, assisting with duty of care obligations and ensuring the safety of business drivers.

Emissions have been capped at 120g/km CO2 due to Matthew Clark’s desire to deliver an environmentally sustainable fleet policy.

Dan Haddon, purchasing controller for Matthew Clark, said: “We chose Zenith as our fleet and funding partner after assessing four providers. Zenith was selected due to its high quality customer service offering, which was clearly evident both throughout the tender process and through a visit to its office. Zenith shares a similar ethos through its customer-centric focus and passion for what it does. Its Pulse online fleet reporting systems and driver websites also stood out.”

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  • Bob the Engineer - 04/07/2014 08:24

    I feel sorry for the poor employees. Better choice? how can you have better choice with a CO2 cap? the duty of care excuse can be taken care of by applying a good driver policy, its not neccesary to opt out of cash allowance. The drivers will be shocked how much a decent vehicle costs as company car tax is outrageous for anything even at 120 grams. Also they will be paying for the lease companies costs and profits instead of taking advantage of the used car market. My company did the same and my current vehicle will cost me 2.5 times more, I am having to drastically downsize and downmarket and still it costs me more. I have had to downgrade to the point it is detrimental to my ability to do my job, but hey! the the rain forest is saved right? (wrong time, wrong direction to go this way, but then the people making these decisions don't have to plod 40K a year in a cheap small underpowered car do they?)

    • Steve - 04/07/2014 12:22

      @Bob the Engineer - Hi Bob. A company car should always work out cheaper than a personally sourced one as long as the company car policy is well written and the allowances fair. On a cash allowance you have to pay tax and NI which drastically reduces the actual cash you have available to spend on a personal vehicle. 120g is very much the norm with company cars, and apart from very large vehicles most vehicles offer an under 120g option now. Yes a second hand car can be very cheap, but I would suggest that 40k per annum mileage would necessitate a fairly new second hand vehicle so the mileage doesn't quickly get out of hand. As someone who does around 40k per annum, I did the math with regards to allowance or company car and the allowance was nowhere near what it would cost me to run a vehicle privately for my mileage. £500 a month quickly becomes £290 after tax and NI, and at 40k per annum in a decent car it would easily work out £100 a month for tyres, servicing, ad hoc repairs etc. over a 3 year period. Then commercial travel business insurance was nearly £80 a month leaving just over £100 to fund a vehicle which just wasn't feasible. Instead I drive a Mercedes. I would suggest if your company car policy is poor then potentially that could be the problem, as opposed to the principle of a lean company car policy. That said, you are correct and an effective cash policy can drastically reduce the risk of operating a cash allowance fleet through grey fleet management.

    • Bob the Engineer - 04/07/2014 14:17

      @Steve - Hi Steve, I know what your saying. We did have a scheme that avoided car tax and largely income tax. The driver became the lease taker (not the company) for a fully maintained vehicle. Business mileage was reimbursed at full (tax free) AMAP rates as the driver was effectively using their 'personal vehicle' The excess money over and above the actual fuel cost within the AMAP was diverted to making lease repayments. This combined with a low interest loan (within tax rules) to the employee towards the initial lease (deferred and repaid with modest interest from the proceeds of selling the vehicle) and a contribution from the employee gave an ingenious scheme that avoided car tax, didn't affect the drivers tax code by adding BIK, gave the driver a fixed payment unaffected by tax changes and was largely immune to CO2 choices. Company proved insurance as a benefit paid up to be tax neutral. A fully maintained new vehicle kept the duty of care thing happy too. Sadly for inexplicable reasons they have abandoned this now. Due to BIK now hitting me in higher rate tax the cost of any company car tax ALONE for the most pathetic vehicle is TWICE what my bigger, more useful to the company vehicle costs me currently. no choice but to bite the bullet and subsidise my own job from my money! Fortunately it doesn't snow much these days but when it does all our people sit at home for days as their nice low CO2 rear wheel drive Mercedes and BMW's can't get off the drive (allegedly!). Which is a bit alarming, as if we don't get to our customer people can die!

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