Spring Budget: What you need to know
In his first and last Spring Budget, chancellor Philip Hammond had few changes for fleets, with confirmation of the continued fuel duty freeze alongside new infrastructure plans and an oblique reference to possible plans for a new tax regime for diesel drivers.
Air quality and plans for diesels
The chancellor has said that a new tax regime covering diesel drivers could be introduced before the end of the year as the Government looks to introduce a new air quality plan.
The Budget document said: “The Government is committed to improving air quality, and will consult on a detailed draft plan in the spring which will set out how the UK’s air quality goals will be achieved. Alongside this, the government will continue to explore the appropriate tax treatment for diesel vehicles, and will engage with stakeholders ahead of making any tax changes at Autumn Budget 2017.”
The chancellor has kept fuel duty frozen at its current rate until 2018, following on from the announcement in the Autumn Statement.
Confirmed in the Spring Budget documents, the freeze means that fuel duty has been held at 57.95p per litre since the March 2011 Budget.
Funding for driverless vehicle and EV research
The chancellor pledged £270m to keep the UK at the forefront of “disruptive technologies like biotech, robotic systems and driverless vehicles”. This includes work on EV batteries.
New VED rates
Although the chancellor announced another freeze for both the VED rates for hauliers and the HGV Road User Levy, there was no reprieve for the new VED rates, which take effect from 1 April 2017 for newly registered cars.
The Budget document also announced that from the same date VED rates for cars and vans registered before April 2017 increase by RPI.
Although the Budget documentation confirmed that moves to reform the tax and NICs on salary sacrifice and cash or car allowances kick in from 2017/18, no further details were provided on the specifics.
Instead the publication of the Finance Bill on 20 March is expected to bring more details.
Following on from the Autumn Statement announcement of £220m funding to address pinch points on the national road network, the chancellor said that £90m would be allocated to the North and £23m for the Midlands.
He also launched a £690m competition for local authorities across England to tackle urban congestion and get local transport networks moving again.
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