Budget met with mixed reaction

Changes to fuel duty and diesel regulations have been met with ambivalence among the motoring industry.

The Autumn Budget introduces a Vehicle Excise Duty supplement applying to new diesel cars, with their First-Year Rate going up by one band. The duty, effective from April 1 2018, will not apply to next generation clean diesels, extending to those certified as meeting emission limits in real driving conditions. These rates will apply to cars only, and not to vans or goods vehicles.

The National Franchised Dealers Association says the excise duty is unfair for motorists who are currently in the market for a diesel vehicle.

Director of the NFDA, Sue Robinson said: “The higher tax on registration of all diesel cars which are not certified by the Real Driving Emissions will disproportionately affect many motorists who will be looking to purchase the most efficient vehicle to suit their driving habits.

In many cases, Euro 6 diesel cars still represent the most efficient and affordable vehicles.”

However the announcement of a freeze on petrol and fuel duty was welcomed by the association, who marked it out as an indication the chancellor had listened to the industry’s concerns regarding mounting fuel costs.

“It is positive and highly beneficial for motorists and consequently the whole retail automotive industry that the rise in fuel duty for petrol and diesel was cancelled”, Ms Robinson continued.

The PRA also praised the decision to freeze petrol and fuel duty, but argued the budget fell short of the industry’s demands to cut fuel duty. The PRA maintains a cut to fuel duty would reduce transportation costs and thus benefit the economy as a whole.

PRA chairman Brian Madderson said: “At present over two million foreign trucks enter the UK via the short-sea ferry, and tunnel routes having already filled their long range tanks and low diesel on the near continent.

These vehicles unfairly compete with UK based hauliers and contribute little to the Treasury from fuel taxes. This is a harsh anomaly which the Government needs to address without further delay.”