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Greener fleets, fewer cars hit Treasury tax take

23 August 2012

The Treasury’s tax take from company cars has fallen by more than half a billion pounds, according to figures released by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
 
In 2004/05, HMRC collected £1.42bn in company car tax and £380 million in tax for free fuel, while National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for both totalled £700m.  However, tax revenues for free fuel and benefit-in-kind (BIK) on company cars will have fallen by more than 20% – £390m – to £1.41bn in 2010/11.  Tax receipts from NICs will have also declined by £140m to £560m over the same period, adding up to a total tax shortfall of £530m.
 
The data also reveals a downward trend in the number of company cars, with a fall of 21% to 950,000 vehicles in 2010/11 from 1.2 million cars in 2004/05.
 
The concern for fleets now is how the Government intends to plug this widening gap in revenues it receives from taxing employers and employees operating company cars.  Documents obtained by the BVRLA under the Freedom of Information Act show that the Government hopes to earn an extra £2bn from company car tax between 2013 and 2017.  It also intends to make nearly one million fewer cars eligible for 100% first year or standard tax relief during the same period.
 
The Treasury has already announced that company car rates from 2014 to 2016 will see the appropriate percentage of list price subject to tax increase by one point for cars emitting more than 75g/km of CO2, to a maximum of 35% in 2014/15, and by two percentage points to a maximum of 37% in both 2015-16.  The capital allowance/lease rental restriction thresholds are also lowered in April 2013 from 160g/km to 130g/km.
 
And from April 2015, the five-year exemption for zero carbon and ultra-low carbon emission vehicles will come to an end.   The appropriate percentage for zero emission and low carbon vehicles will be 13% from April 2015 and 15% from April 2016.
 
ACFO chairman Julie Jenner is worried that further action will be taken. “HM Revenue needs revenue and the concern ACFO has on behalf of its members is where this shortfall is going to come from,” she said.
 
Cars have become more fuel efficient and less polluting, driving down CO2 emissions and resulting in employees paying less in BIK.  In 2009/10 – the most recent year where HMRC has not based its figures on projections – about 60% of company car drivers had cars emitting less than 165g/km of CO2, but 81% had emissions from 135g/km.

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UK vehicle manufacturing rises 20% in July

22 August 2012

Car output rose for the 13th consecutive month, up 22.2% in July and 15.1% for the year-to-date while CV output stabilised down 1.3% in the month with a 7.7% fall for the first seven months.
 
UK engine production was up 0.3% over the year, with a narrow 1.9% downturn in the month.
 
"Car manufacturing continued to perform well, with output up more than 22% for the month and 15% for the year-to-date," said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive. "While uncertainty in Europe remains a challenge, the £6 billion investment committed to the UK in the last two years delivers long-term growth opportunities and the latest figures show that our products have enormous global appeal."

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Wide area 20 mph zones are a waste of money?

22 August 2012

The Association of British Drivers (ABD) deplores the call by some Liberal Democrats to impose a 20-mph speed limit in all residential areas, effectively replacing the 30 limit by 20.
 The ABD suggests there is no evidence that this will have any benefit in reducing injuries and deaths from road traffic accidents, while it will impose very substantial costs to both implement this change and in on-going costs imposed on drivers because of the increased travel times that would result.
 
ABD chairman Brian Gregory had this to say: "As with most pet road safety ideas proposed by amateur enthusiasts - speed humps, speed cameras, etc, - there is little attempt to collect scientifically sound evidence of the benefit of such ideas. No proper controlled, "double-blind" trials are undertaken. The enthusiasts rely on the strength of their rhetoric and the use of selective data to make their case. Don't be fooled by these methods but look at the facts. And remember that all road safety schemes should be cost justified because if there are better things to spend the money on, then that is where the limited funds should be spent".
 
The ABD suggests that instead of wasting money on this idea, any cash available would be better spent on other road safety projects because it is likely to result in much better returns on the investment.

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TfL praised for Games transport

16 August 2012

An efficient logistic network is key to the success of an event of any size but, with the eyes of the world focussing on the London for two weeks, thorough planning and preparation resulted in little disruption to freight services across the capital, reports the Road Haulage Association (RHA).
 
"This, without doubt, was down to the hard work of Transport for London," said RHA chief executive Geoff Dunning. "Whether by public transport or use of the Olympic Route Network, they certainly fulfilled their task of keeping London moving and it's good to know that based on the past two weeks, the Paralympics will run equally smoothly.
 
The RHA also congratulated all the transport operators, transport managers and the HGV drivers involved in delivering the 2012 Olympics; their contribution made the whole two weeks of games and events possible.
 
"It is inevitable that any large occasion will have its logistical pitfalls. However, I am absolutely thrilled that an event of this magnitude was delivered on time and without any discernible problem,” added Dunning.  "Trucks played such a massive, if silent part in the success of 2012 that it was with immense pride we saw their contribution recognised at the beginning of last night's closing ceremony.  London 2012 has proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt that UK hauliers really do deliver. Without them, and the help and assistance from TfL, this massive success for Great Britain would not have been half as great.”

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Motor industry gears-up for September plate-change

16 August 2012

Industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) expects around 330,000 new cars to be registered during September, with motorists spending in the region of £4.95 billion on the latest new vehicles.
 
September is the second biggest month for dealers across the UK and accounts for almost a fifth of the year's trade, with the other plate-change month of March traditionally the busiest.  More than 300 fuel-efficient, technology-packed models are currently on the market, representing one of the biggest ever choices for UK motorists.
 
"September is a significant month for the UK motor industry and the wider economy.  A strong month for new vehicle registrations will help put both on the right track," said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive.  "Franchised dealers have a fantastic range of exciting new models on offer, each with enhanced levels of fuel efficiency, safety, comfort and affordable finance.  These advantages make it a great time to buy a new car and motorists should visit their local dealer to secure a new 62-plate in September."
 
Key statistics
 •Fuel efficiency - average new car CO2 emissions are now 138g/km with official miles per gallon figures typically exceeding 50mpg.
•Safety - 77% of new cars tested by Euro NCAP in 2011 achieved five stars and in the last 10 years road fatalities have fallen almost 50%.
•Security - theft of vehicles has fallen almost 70% over the past 10 years, while theft from vehicles has also dropped significantly, down over 50%.
•Colour - based on this year's buying trends, black and white cars are expected to make-up the lion's share of September registrations, while red and brown car registrations look set to grow compared with last year.
•Size/type - so far this year, the Supermini segment has proven to be the most popular, accounting for 36.6% of the total market, while Dual Purpose vehicles have enjoyed the largest growth in market share.
•Alternative fuels - market share of alternatively-fuelled vehicles is growing steadily with more hybrid, pure electric and biofuel models available than ever before.
•New technology - digital radio is rapidly becoming the ‘must-have' option for new car buyers. Over a quarter of new cars have digital radio fitted as standard, as consumers look ahead to the planned 2015 switchover.
 
The registration plate changed in 1999 from alphabetical to the twice-yearly March and September system that uses the year as an identifier.  The new system uses two letters at the start of the plate to identify the region a vehicle is registered in, the following two digits refer to the year (ie in 2012 the March plate changed to ‘12', and in September it will be ‘62').  The final three letters are randomly allocated to new car dealerships across the country.
 
Motor Codes operates a government-backed Code of Practice for new cars that covers over 99% of all new cars sold in the UK.

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