David Brennan (pictured), CEO of Nexus Vehicle Rental, said: “Britain needs to be mobile. Our economy is reliant on transport for the timely movement of people, goods and services around the country, and from a fleet and business motoring perspective, after months of uncertainty, today’s Budget has been a mixed bag of news for business.
“With inflation at a five-year-high and uncertainty in the shape of Brexit, businesses, especially those for which transport accounts for the lion’s share of their operations, are left feeling uneasy and without absolute reassurance by today’s Budget.
“We are pleased to see fuel duty frozen on petrol and diesel cars as the pre-Budget predicted rise would have had a negative impact on businesses and would leave them facing a huge increase in their fuel bill.
“However, the increase in vehicle excise duty on diesel cars that do not meet emissions targets by one band from April 2018 is likely to be a costly problem for fleets, as is the supplementary one percentage point increase in company car tax for existing diesel cars. The only good news here is that the VED hike won’t apply to vans or HGVs.
“I am not surprised by the ambitious plans set out in today’s Budget regarding the planned investment in the technology and infrastructure to support the widespread uptake of plug-in and ultra-low emissions vehicles.
“Although the Government’s support for ULEVs is very encouraging a lot more work needs to be done to ensure this can be delivered effectively. Vehicle choice, range and battery life span all need to be improved before businesses will fully embrace electric.
“We expect the road to low emissions to be a costly and lengthy transition period, however we welcome the Government’s plans to invest £400m in our charging infrastructure, the introduction of £100m in grants for plug-ins and £40 million for electric charging R&D as this will help speed up the roll out of cleaner vehicles.
“It will be interesting to see what the plug-in grants will look like and how successful the introduction of this incentive for cleaner cars will be in terms of speeding up uptake.
“We are pleased to see more tangible and meaningful incentives for greener cars being introduced rather than the outright vilification of diesel as this will help to add a new dimension to the UK’s business mobility mix and help pave the way for autonomous vehicles further down the line.”