BUDGET 2011: Alphabet reaction
Commenting on the changes to fuel duty, Mr Sinclair said: 'Alphabet made a strong case before the Budget for abandoning the fuel duty escalator because it has no relevance in environmental terms. Today’s changes show that our argument was entirely valid. However, when it comes to fuel’s impact on running costs, this Budget is rather like losing a pound and finding 10p. The stabiliser will not cut duty at times of high oil prices. It will just limit increases to the rate of inflation, which is currently running at over twice the Government’s target.
'Businesses are being given a brief respite from fuel cost pressures, not a lasting reprieve, and Alphabet expects to be kept busy designing and implementing strategic changes to help fleets structurally reduce their operating costs.'
Speaking on the new AMAP rates, he said: 'Raising the AMAP rate to 45p per mile will help the Government and local authorities with on-going negotiations with public sector unions aimed at increasing grey fleet mileage rates. It will also benefit ECO scheme users.'
Mr Sinclair added his comments on the BiK changes: 'The shape of BiK for the next few years now looks predictable, which is in everyone’s interest. We would have liked to see the 3% diesel surcharge abandoned as the great majority of low-CO2 cars are diesel and advances in engine technology and fuel efficiency are rapidly minimising the issue of particulates and air quality pollutants.
He also addressed the issue of NIC and income tax, saying: 'Merging NIC and income tax would have a significant impact on benefits but the scale of the change means that it could not be implemented for several years. At this stage, there is no reason for businesses to contemplate changes to car benefits as the consultation process will last for most of the rest of this year and firm plans for merging income tax and NIC may not emerge until next year’s Budget.'