Thursday 20 January 2022

Budget measures offer some respite for struggling fleets

Several measures announced in the Autumn Budget last month by the chancellor Rishi Sunak were broadly welcomed by transport trade groups, including a continued freeze on fuel duty. Logistics UK said the move would allow businesses to switch to alternatively fuelled vehicles more smoothly.

“The impact of the pandemic on the economy, and our industry in particular, has made vehicle replacement planning particularly challenging,” said the organisation’s policy director, Elizabeth de Jong.

“The logistics sector traditionally runs on extremely narrow margins, with limited amounts of money available for vehicle purchase – so the removal of uncertainty over fuel duty levels for another year will give our industry time to plan vehicle replacements more effectively.”

She added that further measures – the freezing of HGV vehicle excise duty, and extended suspension of the HGV road user levy until 2023 – would make operating vehicles more cost-effective.

“In addition, the continued investment in road and rail infrastructure, as well as in customs and transit arrangements is welcome news which will help goods move smoothly,” she said.

Ms de Jong also welcomed Mr Sunak’s commitment to improve the quality of HGV parking spaces: “however, as the government’s own figures estimate there is currently a shortfall of more than 1,400 spaces nationally, there is still more to be done. The business group will remain in close contact with government on this issue, to ensure that the spaces needed are finally delivered, after more than three years of promises which are yet to be fulfilled.”

The Road Haulage Association also praised the freeze on fuel duty and VED and the levy suspension, and said that the £32.5m announced for roadside facilities for HGV drivers was “a positive sign”. It additionally welcomed the extension of the increased £1m limit of the annual investment allowance, which expedites tax relief on new vehicles, to March 2023.

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