There have been very mixed reactions to yesterday’s Government spending review.
The BVRLA has welcomed the Government’s decision to conduct an urgent review into the impact of WLTP on Vehicle Excise Duty and company car tax.
In today’s Budget it was announced that the review would report back in time for the Chancellor’s 2019 Spring Statement. Commenting on the news, BVRLA Chief Executive Gerry Keaney urged the Government to publish a new set of tax bands as soon as possible:
|“It is great to hear that the Treasury is making plans to remedy any potential tax distortion caused by the transition to the new WLTP emissions standard in April 2020.
“It is vital that fleets and company car drivers are able to plan for the future, confident that they are working with more accurate emissions information and a fairer tax regime that rewards those who choose cleaner vehicles. These revised tax bandings can’t come too soon.”
The uncertainty around WLTP has also persuaded the Government to put off any decision to introduce an emissions-based regime for Van VED. In the Budget, it confirmed that this would not happen before April 2021.
“This decision to postpone a CO2 based Van VED regime is great news for fleets,” said Keaney.
“Tax incentives can be a very powerful tool in driving businesses to use cleaner vehicles, but it is no use having these until we have enough low-emission van options on the market. The BVRLA is pleased that the Government has listened to its feedback on this issue and decided to take a pragmatic, business friendly approach to greening the van fleet.”
|The BVRLA was dismayed to hear that the Budget included no reference to an early introduction for the 2% company car tax rate for electric vehicles.
“The Chancellor chose to ignore the overwhelming voice of fleets, motoring groups, business organisations, environmental groups and MPs – all of whom were united in calling for this simple tax measure to support the electric vehicle market,” said Keaney.
“The Government has missed a golden opportunity to incentivise the most important market for electric cars and is in danger of undermining its own Road to Zero strategy. “
With electrified car subsidies recently cut despite the Government publicly encouraging buyers towards alternative-fuelled cars, it had been hoped that the Budget might help confused car buyers amid the ongoing demonisation of diesels.
However, the budget did not provide clarity for car buyers on which fuel type is likely to be encouraged in future years.
The Treasury has set aside a £28.8 billion National Roads Fund for Highways England to improve and maintain motorways and other major roads between 2020 and 2025.
The bulk of the cash will come from Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) – the first time road tax has solely been spent to upgrade the country’s road network.
The spending marks an 40% improvement on the £17.6 billion the Treasury spent in the last five-year investment cycle.
Smaller roads will benefit from a further cash injection of £420 million between 2018 and 2019, with another £150 million to be spent between 2021 and 2023 to reduce congestion.
Funding of £90 million was also promised to ‘future mobility zones’ in three cities, where schemes such as self-driving vehicles can be tested.
|Road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has said while the £420 million in new investment in tackling Britain’s pothole crisis is welcome, it doesn’t go nearly far enough and is merely a drop in the ocean to deal with a long-term and major issue.
Yesterday’s budget saw Chancellor Philip Hammond announce the cash injection for our beleaguered roads, alongside a £28.8 billion fund to upgrade England’s motorways.
Mr Hammond announced £25.5 billion for Highways England for major road upgrades between 2020 and 2025 and an extra £3.5 billion of funding allocated to major local routes, under the jurisdiction of local councils. The £420 million for potholes is on top of an existing fund of almost £300 million.
However just three months ago IAM RoadSmart conducted a survey of over 7,000 of its members, finding how disillusioned they had become with Britain’s rotten roads.
Some 47% – over 3,400 respondents – said they had experienced damage to their car, commercial vehicle, motorbike or bicycle or personal injury as a result of hitting a pothole.
Around 90% had spotted a deterioration of some level in the roads they use with just over 50% rating the state of their roads as ‘much worse’ in the past three years and 38% rating them ‘worse.’
Some 81% – close to 6,000 people – said they have noticed ‘many more’ potholes in the past three years, adding in the 13% who have seen ‘a few more,’ that gives a total of 94% who report more potholes.
Over 56% said they have to take avoiding action on every journey to dodge potholes, while 27% said they have to steer around a pothole every day.
|Sean Kemple, Director of Sales at Close Brothers Motor Finance said, “It’s promising to see the Chancellor act in favour of drivers this Budget, after a tough few years of crackdowns on diesel and increases in tax.
“However, while fixing potholes and bridge repairs is an admirable start, it barely scratches the surface of the issues faced by UK motorists. It’s disappointing to see no mention of investment in electric car infrastructure, or clarity around diesel policy.
“Furthermore, a quarter of drivers report that the uncertainty arising from Brexit alone has impacted their decision to buy a car in the next three years, which is having a domino effect on car dealers and car manufacturers. Brexit continues to have a negative impact on the £82 billion car industry in the UK, and it is absolutely crucial that the Government bears this in mind over the coming months.”