Commenting on the budget Claire Evans, head of fleet consultancy at Zenith said:
“The Chancellor claimed this budget aimed to help Britain embrace change, meet its challenges head on and seize opportunities. It set out to support innovation and encourage research and development by firms with new funding and tax breaks for companies through tax credits and investment incentives.
“The fleet sector called for clear guidance on a range of issues, and it is good to see some clarification from the Chancellor that will help our industry plan with more confidence. There is a clear direction of travel from the government with more support for the adoption of cleaner engine technology and electric vehicles with taxation only impacting less efficient diesels.
“The anticipated rise in diesel taxes arrived with the announcement that from April 2018 VED rates for new diesel cars will rise by one band. It means an Audi A3 in 101-110 band will incur an increase of 42p a month over a typical four-year term.
“Funds raised by VED changes will support a £220m Clean Air Fund for local clean air plans.
“The diesel BiK supplement will increase by 1% from April 2018. In news that will encourage manufacturers to continue to advance cleaner diesel engines, the diesel supplement will be removed entirely for vehicles that meet the Real Driving Emissions step 2 standard (RDE2) bringing it in-line with the petrol equivalent. It is disappointing news for drivers in existing diesel cars who will be subject to the rise and not given time to move into cleaner technology.
“The move will encourage fleet providers into the cleanest diesel engines alongside petrol and ULEV vehicles in the long-term. And give fleets more clarity to enable better planning on policy choices.
“The planned fuel duty rise was scrapped, making it the most prolonged period the duty has been frozen in 40 years. VED for HGV and the road user levy were also frozen in a welcome move for the sector.
“The chancellor unveiled extra funds and tax incentives for electric car drivers. It included a new £400m charging infrastructure fund, an additional £100m in plug-in car grant, and £40m for research into charging. And drivers who charge their vehicles at work will not be taxed as a Benefit-in-Kind.”