How will the 2018 Autumn Budget affect the transport industry?


In the run up to last month’s Autumn Budget, both the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and the Freight Transport Association (FTA) called on the Chancellor Philip Hammond to make cuts to fuel duty.

Both organisations noted that reducing fuel duty could have a positive effect on overall economic activity in the country, allowing UK businesses to become more competitive, create more jobs and boost the country’s GDP levels.

However, expectations of any cuts in fuel duty were low, with the Government hinting at several tax hikes being necessary to improve funding in multiple areas, including the NHS.

What the new Budget brings

In his Budget statement on 29 October, the Chancellor confirmed, however, that fuel duty wouldn’t face any cuts or rises, instead remaining frozen for the ninth year in a row. While a freeze relieves pressure on drivers worried about a potential rise, the lack of cuts was criticised. Howard Cox, founder of the FairFuelUK campaign, voiced his concern, suggesting that lower fuel duty could help to “stimulate the economy.”

Despite this, the Budget also included a £28.8 billion fund to improve Britain’s roads, with £420 million being made available to local authorities for pothole repairs after a year of turbulent weather. This additional funding aims to ensure that vehicles are kept safe from unnecessary and costly damage as a result of unsuitable roads.

Delay to vehicle excess duty rises

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has praised the decision to delay emissions-based reforms on van vehicle excess duty. Following a consultation earlier this year, last month’s Budget announced that van VED would not see increases until at least April 2021, with a full outline from the Government to be published soon.

BVRLA Chief Executive, Gerry Keaney, said: “This decision to postpone a CO2 based van VED regime is great news for fleets. Tax incentives can be a very powerful tool in driving businesses to use cleaner vehicles, but it is no use having these until we have enough low-emission van options on the market.”

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