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Road Budget 'missed opportunity'

21 Mar 2014 at 10:31

Car hire trade chiefs have welcomed action on the UK's pothole problem - but fear the Chancellor has missed an opportunity to support ultra low-emission vehicles in the 2014 Budget.

BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said although George Osborne had talked about extending his support for such vehicles, there was "precious little evidence" for this in his speech to the Commons.

While the market for electric vehicles is "still in the doldrums", current incentives are not working, Mr Keaney added, with new company car tax rates doing "nothing to encourage fleets and their drivers to take a risk on this costly and uncertain technology".

Mr Keaney added that any business driver thinking about choosing zero-emission vehicles could see their company tax rate rise from zero to 13% within four years. Costs of taking to the road will go up much faster than someone "choosing a gas guzzler".

He said any cost advantage to people in the industry thanks to the abolition of the 3% diesel supplement from 2016 "has been dragged back", and by 2018/19 drivers will be putting a further "£480 million into annual tax revenues".

However, the BVRLA acknowledged up to £200 million funding for pothole repairs as well as a freeze in fuel duty.

Mr Keaney said badly maintained roads, which could lead to accidents and breakdowns , were the UK transport arteries' "cholesterol" and he was pleased the Government understood there was a problem. However, he said the sum involved is "not nearly enough".

Copyright Press Association 2014