April 9, 2020

The industry reacts to the 2020 Budget

Commercial vehicle industry figures have reacted to yesterday’s Budget announcement, which included measures to invest in road repair, electric vehicle infrastructure and a continued freeze on fuel duty.

The AA’s president, Edmund King, described the Chancellor’s 2020 Budget as one to “keep Britain moving”.

Commenting on the announcements, he said: “We are pleased the Chancellor has listened to our calls to maintain the freeze in fuel duty. An increase would have had a negative impact on both households and business at a time when the economy is fragile given the current circumstances.”

“When it comes to upgrading motorways, we hope some money will be made available to add more emergency refuge areas on ‘smart’ motorways and that the best stopped vehicle detection systems will be installed as standard on new schemes. Some of the money should also be used to retrofit additional laybys on existing schemes.”

SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, said: “Unprecedented situations call for unprecedented measures so today’s emergency funding and wider measures to support businesses and workers in managing the likely effects of coronavirus is very welcome.

“Given the immediate challenges, however, we are pleased to see the Chancellor find room in his Budget to help make zero emission motoring a more viable option for more drivers – essential if we are to begin to meet extremely challenging environmental ambitions.”

Commenting on the announcement that £2.5bn will be made available to repair 50 million potholes, Neil Worth, road safety officer at GEM Motoring Assist, said: “Potholes are a national disgrace, and have been allowed to proliferate all over the country, leaving so many stretches of road in a truly dangerous state.

“We would like to see action taken immediately that will give national highways agencies and local authorities the means to ramp up their programme of pothole repairs.”

The BVRLA also welcomed the range of electric vehicle grants and tax incentives announced.

The association, the trade body for the vehicle rental, leasing and fleet industry, said that the measures would provide a major boost for those looking to speed-up the transition to zero-emission transport.

Key announcements include:

  • £532m to maintain the Plug-In Car and Van Grants until March 2023
  • Exempting all zero-emission vehicles from the VED ‘expensive car supplement’ until 2025
  • Pledging £500m for rapid charging infrastructure, including a new fund to support connections to the electricity grid
  • Eliminating the Van Benefit Charge for zero-emission vans from 2021

BVRLA chief executive, Gerry Keaney, said: “Tackling road transport emissions and improving air quality is top of the agenda for government, industry and society.

“The Plug-In Grant and VED measures outlined today will play a massive role in making EVs more affordable for thousands upon thousands of businesses and drivers across the UK.

“With an average fleet replacement cycle of 1-3 years, the vehicle rental and leasing industry is ideally placed to drive rapid EV-transition in the UK and we will use these fiscal incentives to continue to lead the way in driving the shift towards cleaner road transport.”