Electric vehicles have been given a boost in the Budget.
Sean Kemple, Managing Director of Close Brothers Motor Finance, said: “We are finally starting to see the government put its money where its mouth is when it comes to investing in greener roads.
“An additional £620 million into public charging in residential areas and targeted plug-in vehicle grants will be a critical acceleration in the path to Net Zero, and will help encourage drivers to transition to electric vehicle ownership. Investment in charging points is an infrastructural necessity if we are to embed the use of electric cars into our everyday lives.
“But we still have a way to go to make electric car ownership accessible, affordable, and convenient for motorists. EV ownership is currently out of reach for so many drivers across the country, so it could be an industry gamechanger that the Chancellor has announced some additional funding that could make greener transport a reality for all. As wished for by almost a third (31%) of motorists who wanted to see further funding and grants announced to support them with installing an electric car charging points at their home.”
Paul Hollick, chair, Association of Fleet Professionals added, “It’s no great surprise but there is little in the Budget of direct interest to fleets.
“Certainly the freeze in fuel duty is welcome but not unexpected given the rate of petrol and diesel increases seen in recent months, and the additional funds that have been made available for kerbside charging are welcome but were leaked long in advance. There are some areas of disappointment.
“The biggest of these is the absence of benefit-in-kind taxation tables for 2025-26, for which we’ve been campaigning and remain an issue for fleets embarking on electrification. We would also have welcomed any sign of future discussion on the Government’s future thinking on road pricing, but it appears that conversation remains some way into the future.
“In a wider sense, the good news is that the economy is a relatively good place following Covid – or at least in a better place that could’ve once been expected – although there remains a long list of significant problems, from the semiconductor shortage to the emerging impact of Brexit.”
It was welcomed by the car makers’ body in Britain.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The effects of the pandemic continue to hurt businesses across the sector – supply chain disruption, skills shortages and punitive energy costs.
“The Budget included some significant steps, most notably in adjusting business rates to allow relief on renewable energy and the extension of the super-deduction. Together with the Global Britain Investment Fund which provides £817m to support the transition of automotive manufacturing and the £620m announced last week for incentives, as well as investment in charging infrastructure, these are a recognition of the importance of the automotive sector and its ability to drive innovation and exports, and to create well-paid, highly skilled, green jobs across the country.
“However, if we are to attract the investment in plant and machinery that a modern, competitive and decarbonised industry needs, a more fundamental change in business rates is still necessary – one that actually incentivises the continued investment that factories need to be at the cutting edge of operational efficiency.
“The Budget was also a missed opportunity to support the many supply chain businesses which are suffering cash flow shortages due to stoppages arising from the semiconductor shortages.”