Fleet News

Budget disappoints despite fleet sector lobbying, says Stephen Briers

Stephen Briers

We’re usually glass half full folk, but going into a Budget always leaves us feeling glass half empty.

In this respect, Chancellor Philip Hammond didn’t disappoint. Despite all the lobbying by the fleet sector, including ourselves, there were few moments of cheer during one of the longest Budget statements on record.

No new BIK thresholds, no bringing forward of the 2% ULEV incentive, no certainty for fleets and drivers.

It wasn’t entirely unexpected, not least with all the focus on Brexit.

There is still a lack of data around WLTP, with several carmakers yet to reveal figures, despite the September deadline.

In addition, the Government has done little to analyse the figures that are available. Both are needed before a decision on BIK can be taken.

Meanwhile, on the 2% BIK for ULEVs, long lead times and supply shortages for many electric vehicles have convinced Hammond there is no point in taking action now.

Nevertheless, together with the £1,000 reduction in the plug-in car grant and the decision to exclude plug-in hybrids from the scheme, this decision will be a setback to the Government’s Road to Zero strategy.

Fleet decision-makers remain in a state of limbo, unable to revise policy or advise their companies and drivers about the choices.

We will continue to lobby Government while it reviews the impact of WLTP on VED and company car tax in the hope that the Chancellor will announce new tax bands in the spring that will remedy any tax distortion caused by the new fuel testing regime.

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