Budget reaction from Fleet Operations

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has begun flicking through the pages of the pre-election playbook to announce measures in his Autumn Statement, designed to help stimulate business growth.

But for fleet operators his notable failure to cancel the planned increase in fuel duty next April will serve to dampen any early festive cheer. If this goes ahead, the first rise in over a decade would come at a time, in the wake of a cost of business squeeze, when fleets can least afford it.

Making the full expensing capital allowance tax scheme, introduced in the last Budget, permanent certainly comes as welcome news, helping to support many fleets’ bottom line, along with the transition to e-mobility.

However, it is only cash-rich business with access to capital that benefit. Failing to extend the scheme to the leasing and rental sectors continues to prove a missed opportunity to support the wider fleet industry, and its critical role in driving business investment and transport decarbonisation.

Elsewhere, following the recent decision to delay the ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans, there had been high hopes that significant measures would be announced by the Chancellor to help counteract the impact of this by incentivising EV adoption. But this was not forthcoming in any meaningful way, and once again, has proved a missed opportunity.