“Today the Chancellor has given a boost to drivers of today’s vehicles with a fuel duty freeze while also investing in tomorrow with funding for rapid charging hubs for electric vehicles, an extension to the plug-in car grant, funding to repair Britain’s roads and a commitment to spend on motorways and strategic roads.
“We welcome the Chancellor’s freeze in fuel duty which will be a relief to drivers up and down the country. While the Chancellor might have been tempted to increase duty, the reality is that for millions this would have simply increased their everyday driving costs and done nothing to encourage them to switch to cleaner vehicles. And while many want to seek alternative transport options to using their vehicles for some journeys, in so many parts of the country reasonable public transport provision simply does not exist.
“We also welcome a commitment from the Chancellor to extend the plug-in car grant until 2022-23, something we called for and which will provide a real long-term boost for drivers who plan on changing their vehicle in the next couple of years but find the current upfront costs prohibitive. More expensive electric vehicles will also not now face a higher rate of vehicle excise duty, increasing their attractiveness to new buyers. Our research suggests that cost is one of the biggest barriers for drivers who want to switch to an electric vehicle and the steps taken today provide clarity and certainty for both consumers and manufacturers.
“Alongside this, while additional funding from the Chancellor to fix our local roads is helpful, what has been committed is simply not enough. The condition and maintenance of local roads continues to be a major concern for more than a third of drivers, with a majority believing the state of local roads has worsened in the last year. However, £2.5bn over the course of five years may not by adequate, particularly if the UK is hit by extreme winter weather.
“Finally, we are pleased with the commitment from the Chancellor to continue the investment in our strategic road network. Congestion is a major concern for over a fifth of drivers and it is vitally important that we continue to keep both drivers and Britain moving.”
Combined, the has been an excellent Budget for small businesses such as garages.
The Independent Garage Association (IGA) is pleased by the changes being made to small business rates, as announced by the Chancellor in today’s 2020 budget.
“It is a welcome move from the government to abolish the rates in the retail sector. Most independent garage businesses have a rateable value of under £51,000, and will benefit greatly from this.” commented Stuart James, IGA CEO.
“The cost of running a garage and investing in new equipment, coupled with the shortage of skilled technicians, is a significant concern for garage owners and this measure will be a great help.”
In today’s Budget, the Chancellor also announced £2.1 billion would be made available for grants of £3,000 for any business which qualifies for small business rates relief. The 100% retail discount will be extended to eligible retail businesses, meaning a total 12-month exemption for retail outlets from the 6 April 2020. This is estimated to save each business up to £25,000.
Seán Kemple, Director of Sales at Close Brothers Motor Finance, commented on car infrastructure spending.
He said, “The Chancellor’s pledge to boost investment into zero-emission cars and rapid charging hubs will be pivotal for the motor industry. The UK cannot approach a blanket ban on petrol, diesel and hybrid cars without a network that supports such a seismic transition.
“Injecting £500m into infrastructure well help settle the concerns of buyers, and support dealers who are overhauling their stock. If the Government sticks to its promises, then demand for alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) will be boosted and the car market will get the welcome spark it needs.”
Additionally, the Chancellor will abolish business rates entirely in his first Budget. Seán Kemple comments on how this move will support car dealers across the country.
On business rates he added,“The Chancellor’s abolishment of the business rates will support car dealers across the country who have been worried about the impact of recent volatility on their bottom lines.
“We are delighted by the provisions made by the Treasury on key issues impacting independent petrol retailers,” said Brian Madderson, Chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), commenting on today’s Budget from the Chancellor.
Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, announced in his Budget today measures that will be of much benefit to the petrol sector.
Madderson spoke today to Matthew Dix, Head of Commercial Property Tax at the Treasury, who confirmed the abolishment of business rates for the tax year 2020-21 for small businesses in the retail sector. This applies to businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000 and will be of enormous help to filling stations in order to cope with the economic hardship of coronavirus.
The freeze on fuel duty for another year is also welcome, keeping fuel costs down for consumers. We are also pleased with the decision to exclude the agriculture industry from the abolishment of the red diesel tax relief, especially in relation to the recent floods in the northern former ‘red wall’, to keep the sector thriving.
Additionally, the proposal that legislation will be introduced to protect access to cash is also a good step in maintaining millions of people’s access to their money.
Madderson continued, “This Budget will be beneficial for our members, and will help them maintain strong business activity in a period of uncertainty.”
The Chancellor has announced a number of positive measures to support businesses through a period of external challenges including the coronavirus outbreak, said Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association.
The Government has announced it will provide £403 million for the Plug-in Car Grant, extending it to 2022-23. The government will also provide £129.5 million to extend the Plug-in Grants for vans, taxis and motorcycles to 2022-23. “NFDA will be liaising with the Government to understand the details of the incentives that will be provided to motorists for the purchase of ultra-low emission vehicles.”.
Vehicle Excise Duty
The government is publishing a call for evidence which will include how VED can be used to support the take-up of zero and ultra-low emission vehicles and reduce overall emissions from road vehicles
“Following our lobbying efforts, we are pleased to see that the Government will publish a call for evidence on VED. NFDA will continue to liaise with the Government to outline franchised dealers’ priorities on the issue. Additionally, we are pleased to see that zero emission cars will be exempted from the Vehicle Excise Duty VED ‘expensive car supplement’”.
Company car tax
As set out in July 2019, the Government will reduce most CCT rates by 2% in 2020-21 for cars first registered from 6 April 2020. Rates will return to planned levels over the following two years, increasing by 1% in 2021-22 and 1% in 2022-23. Rates will then be frozen until 2024-25.
“Further clarity on the company car tax is positive news for businesses”.
The Government has announced an extra £900 million investment for R&D, space, nuclear fusion and electric vehicles.
The Budget has announced investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, ‘which will ensure that drivers are never more than 30 miles from a rapid charging station’. The Government has committed to spending £1 billion on ‘green transport solutions’. This includes £532 million for consumer incentives for ultra-low emission vehicles.
“It is extremely encouraging to see that more than £500 million will be invested to support the rollout of new rapid charging hubs. Access to charging infrastructure is one of the key barriers preventing consumers from buying an electric car and, as a result, we welcome further investments which will continue to encourage motorists to purchase low and zero emission vehicles”.
“It is positive that fuel duty will remain frozen for another twelve months. This decision will benefit motorists and the whole automotive industry throughout a period of significant changes and financial pressure”.
“It is positive that a total of £27 billion will be invested to improve the condition of 4,000 miles of roads in the UK. An efficient transport infrastructure is key to a strong economy and the investment is welcome news”.
Rishi Sunak’s first budget as Chancellor is vital to support the shift to cleaner transport, added Garry White, Chief Investment Commentator at Charles Stanley Wealth Managers.
Mr Sunak unveiled significant investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure around the UK, which will ensure that drivers are never more than 30 miles from a rapid-charging station. Not only does this put some essential infrastructure in place to encourage more people to buy electric, but it also sends a clear policy message to people holding off from buying new cars.
The government is committed to promoting electric vehicles and is prepared to invest in the infrastructure – this implies you can buy an electric car with confidence. It’s good for consumers, carmakers and the environment.”
“The budget lays out an exciting programme. The pothole fund offers a fantastic opportunity to implement new technologies that allow us to repair roads far quicker than before, reduce the time of disruption as well as proving to be the cheaper and move environmentally friendly option.
“FTA has been urging government to commit to improvement for several years; we are thrilled to see the Chancellor has pledged to spend billions of pounds on upgrades across the UK.
“Businesses within the logistics sector rely on safe, effective and well-maintained road networks to keep goods moving across the UK, but the poor state of roads across the nation has compromised their ability to do so; the economic performance of the country has suffered as a result.
“Now, we are calling on government to press ahead urgently with its plans; the UK’s road and rail network has been subject to chronic underinvestment for many years and this programme is long overdue.”
Efficient logistics is vital to keep the UK trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.
The Budget left him seeing red on one issue.
Mr Snelling added, “As the business organisation representing the logistics sector, FTA is urging government to reconsider its decision to increase the tax rate on red diesel as this will be very damaging to the businesses that rely on the fuel to keep vital products and services moving across the country when it comes into force.
“This move will not incentivise companies to transition to newer, cleaner diesel units, because they are no more fuel efficient; if anything, it will slow progress as companies will balance the increased running costs by keeping their current equipment longer.”
While newer diesel equipment produces substantially lower local air quality emissions, this is achieved by cleaning the exhaust before emission, not through reduced fuel use.
Snelling went on, “We are currently working with governmental departments to assess how to accelerate progression to cleaner units, but instead of waiting for this solution, we believe the government is taking this blunt, ineffective and costly action to give the appearance of progress, without regard to the realities of the use of these units.”
The £500 million extra a year divided across English local authorities is still a fraction of the amount needed to deal with decades of underfunding, which have led to deteriorating conditions and a rising one-time catch up costs to fix the problem, claimed Rick Green, Chair, Asphalt Industry Alliance.
“It’s a positive move that the new Government has recognised the need to allocate much-needed additional funding to our vital local road network. It is certainly a large step in the right direction and we look forward to hearing more detail from the Secretary of State for Transport.
“We believe that what’s needed is an investment of £1.5 billion extra per year, for 10 years, to bring local road conditions up to a level from which they can be maintained cost effectively to ensure a more resilient network going forward.”