The Budget

While yesterday’s Budget as expected rounded up the “usual suspects” by spelling-out bad news for smokers and to a lesser extent, those fond of a little aperitif ( or two ! ) – George Osborne actually dished out some good news in general for our lease and contract-hire customers. By delivering a Budget that is clearly designed to boost business and encourage employment, Osborne brought sense of relief to fleet operators across the country.Further good news for fleet customers came with the abolishing of the unjustified 3% diesel supplement which will bring diesel cars into parity with their petrol-engined equivalents by 2016. Employers and company car drivers have also been given a clear five-year notice period of proposed future company car tax-rates which will let our leasing customers choose a lower-emission vehicle in good time when they next come to change – and lower their tax bill at the same time.
However with the good news ……..
The Chancellor’s decision to not cut fuel duty comes as a major disappointment and a glorious opportunity missed – the 3p a litre price hike will go ahead as planned. To treat vehicle fuel as a discretionary spend like cigarettes and booze is outrageous – buying fuel to get to work or to deliver your company’s goods or services is hardly an avoidable luxury and not cutting fuel duty can only be viewed as cynical and misguided.
The Chancellor’s over-enthusiasm in driving down emission-based capital allowances for company cars may have been a little over-ambitious as there has been a larger-than-expected consequential fall in tax revenues. As the fleet sector is the only part of the new vehicle market that continues to grow, Osborne’s on-going lowering of tax thresholds to incentivise further cuts in emissions could bring a temporary stall to the lease market as businesses may choose to re-evaluate their fleet policies.
However, notwithstanding some of the obstacles outlined above,when taken as a whole, the Budget’s promise of increased employment and business growth can only spell good news overall for our fleet customers and their businesses.

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