With fuel duty frozen as promised, the 2014 Budget had little that was bad and much that was good for hauliers. Those seeking to acquire new trucks or other capital equipment will be pleased by the increase in Annual Investment Allowance for companies to £500,000 to the end of 2015.
Hauliers hoping for new work will also be heartened by a number of measures set to boost the construction sector and provide stable energy costs for heavy industry, together with a £200 million ‘potholes challenge’ for road repairs.
Business rates discounts and increased capital allowances will be extended to businesses in Enterprise Zones for another three years.
The van benefit-in-kind charge will go up to £3,090, and the van fuel charge benefit multiplier will increase to £581. Company car tax will rise, but incentives will continue for Ultra Low Emission Vehicles.
Small businesses will be given funding for 100,000 more apprenticeships.
Responding to George Osborne’s statement, the Freight Transport Association welcomed the fuel duty freeze, but said it was disappointed the chancellor did not go further by reducing fuel duty by 3p per litre, as FTA had advocated prior to the Budget.
James Hookham, FTA managing director of policy and communications, said: “The Chancellor has kept his promise to freeze fuel duty and industry will be £187 million a year better off for that, but he missed the opportunity to stimulate the economy further by reducing fuel duty and putting around £690 million into the pockets of families and British business. This could have given a further stimulus to the economy and locked in the positive growth already achieved.”
FTA cites estimates based on its own figures that every penny of fuel duty costs commercial vehicle operators £116 million a year. A 3p per litre cut would have saved around £350 million a year for the industry, it added.
The association also pointed to evidence suggesting that such a reduction would generate at least 70,000 jobs, increase GDP by 0.2 per cent and help lower inflation.