Autumn statement: Key Points for Fleets

Delivering both the Autumn Statement and the Spending Review, Chancellor George Osborne has announced increased transport spending and more support for ultra low emission vehicles but said that the Government will delay the removal of the current diesel surcharge on Benefit in Kind car tax and will also tackle whiplash fraud with new measures. BiK levy: Headline news for fleets was the announcement of the delay in the removal of the current diesel surcharge on Benefit in Kind car tax, which was set to finish as of April 2016. Instead, the levy will be dropped from April 2021, by which point the Government says there should be new EU-wide testing procedures to ensure diesel vehicles meet air quality standards under real-world conditions, as well as in the laboratory. It’s estimated that the extension will raise an additional £1.36bn in revenue over its five-year term….

Government extends Plug-in Car Grant until at least February 2016

The Government has announced that the current Plug-in Car Grant will continue until at least February 2016 with a longer-term plan to be announced after the November spending review. The move is intended to boost electric vehicle take-up and will see motorists and business fleets continue to be offered up to £5,000 off the price of an electric car for all categories of vehicle. Previously the Government had announced that grant levels would be reviewed once 50,000 vehicles had been sold, with this milestone expected to be reached in November this year. Further details about how the plug-in car grant will be structured beyond February are expected following the Government Spending Review in November. Transport Minister, Andrew Jones MP said: “I’m pleased to announce today that the Government is maintaining the current levels of grant, even as we move past the milestone of 50,000…

Government look to convert public sector fleets to EVs

Plans to encourage public sector car fleets to take up electric vehicles have been announced as the Government unveils its infrastructure spending plan. The National Infrastructure Plan commits over £375bn of planned public and private sector investment to energy, transport, communications and water projects and includes the announcement that the Government is to take forward steps to convert public sector car fleets to electric vehicles, investing £5m in a pilot during the year 2014 to 2015. The National Infrastructure Plan also includes the announcement of plans to make the UK a world centre for the testing and development of driverless cars, with the Government adding that it will conduct a review to ensure that the legislative and regulatory framework to support this aim, reporting late 2014. It will also create a £10m prize fund for a town or city to develop as a testing…

Fuel duty frozen and tax disc scrapped in Autumn Statement

The planned fuel duty increase for September 2014, expected to be worth 1.61p per litre, will be cancelled. The Chancellor George Osborne announced the freeze in the Autumn Statement. In total, fuel duty will have been frozen for nearly four and a half years, the longest freeze for over 20 years. Average pump prices are 13ppl lower than if the Government had implemented the fuel duty escalator, and will be 20ppl lower by the end of the Parliament. The Treasury says that this means that it currently costs the typical motorist £7 less to fill up their tank, and will cost £11 less by the end of the Parliament. ACFO chairman Damian James said: “The move gives some stability to fleets in their budget forecasting and is welcome at a time when the green shoots of economic recovery are sprouting.” In total, the Government…

Budget extends tax appeal of ultra-low emission cars

Manufacturers have welcomed the Government’s announcement in the Budget to extend the tax appeal of sub-76g/km models for fleets. The introduction of two new bands from 2015, which reverses a 2012 Budget decision to remove tax exemptions, will cut benefit-in-kind tax by hundreds of pounds a year. However, ultra-low emission vehicles have not yet caught the imagination of the majority of fleets, despite the lure of Government incentives, such as the plug-in car grant which offers up to £5,000 off the price of vehicles up to 75g/km. In 2012, 1,262 pure electric cars were sold, with the Nissan Leaf accounting for 55% of registrations. Range extended vehicles, such as the Vauxhall Ampera and Chevrolet Volt, which emit 27g/km, accounted for 522 registrations and plug-in hybrids, like the Toyota Prius at 49g/km, were responsible for 470 registrations. Combined they accounted for 2,254 units out of…

Company car news – The Budget

BVRLA chief executive John Lewis shares his comments on the Budget: New thresholds for company car Benefit-in-Kind tax: “This decision to rethink the benefit-in-kind thresholds on low-emission company cars will ensure they remain an attractive proposition for drivers. “The market for plug-in vehicles is growing but confidence in this new technology, particularly the costs involved, remains fragile. This move will reassure thousands of potential drivers.” On 100% FYA’s for ultra-low emission lease cars: “Thousands of businesses, particularly SME’s, rely on leasing to acquire their cars, in many cases because they can’t raise the finance elsewhere. “This decision to remove 100% First-Year Allowances won’t stop them leasing, but it will result in them choosing cheaper cars with higher CO2 emissions. “In effect, the government is hindering the momentum towards greener motoring. We think overall car emissions in the UK could rise as a result over…

Dutch Firm Design ‘Smart,’ Glow-in-the-Dark Highway

The first prototype of the Netherlands’ “Smart Highway” – featuring a glow-in-the-dark roadway using temperature-sensitive paint – was open for public viewing during Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, Netherlands. The design will first be implemented on a section of highway in the Netherlands’ Brabant province in mid-2013. The Smart Highway concept, created by design firm Studio Roosegaarde and infrastructure management firm Heijmans, captured the Dutch Design Award for best future concept. The goal of the Smart Highway project is to make roads more safe, interactive and sustainable by using interactive lights, smart energy and road signs that adapt to specific traffic situations. Over the next five years, this will be accomplished employing such innovations as glow-in-the-dark roads, dynamic paint, interactive lights that switch on as vehicles approach, induction priority lanes for electric vehicles, and wind-powered lights, according to Studio Roosegaarde. The Dutch design firm…

80mph motorway speed limit not ruled out by DfT

The Government says it is still considering the merits of increasing the motorway speed limit from 70mph to 80mph, despite reports that a U-turn could be in the offing. The idea was first mooted less than a year ago, when the former transport secretary Philip Hammond claimed the increase would be good for business. However, Patrick McLoughlin, who assumed the top job at the Department for Transport (DfT) following the recent cabinet reshuffle, appears less than convinced. He said what was important was that “we never lose sight about the issue of safety on our roads” and that safety was “paramount” to his thinking. Meanwhile a DfT spokesman said it was currently working on an impact assessment of an 80mph speed limit on sections of the motorway network with variable speed limits and considering the criteria for where and under what conditions the 80mph…