First thing’s first!

Posted By: TMC - 3rd April 2019

It’s interesting that the UK government have found time to publish an ambitious strategy for future urban mobility, at a time when fleets and businesses are crying out for basic but vital tax information.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m completely behind the application of expert, joined-up thinking when reviewing the opportunities and challenges around mobility policy. It’s key to the UK’s competitiveness.

But it is imperative that the government fix the foundations of the existing car market before it starts reaching for the sky.

95% of respondents to a Fleet News poll, last month, agreed the delay in publishing new BIK rates is having a long-term negative effect on the company car market.

More than 75% said the current Advisory Fuel Rates don’t reflect their fuel costs. And they are right, by the way. TMC’s mileage capture data proves conclusively that the cut in AFRs on 1 March wasn’t justified by either changes in pump prices or cars’ fuel economy.

I recently had a great chat with Company Car Today’s editor Paul Barker, (which you can read here), about the unsustainable path we’re being led down by the government’s seeming misunderstanding and/or neglect of the need for progressive tax policies for company cars.

The problem seems to come from the top, at ministerial level. A year ago, the chair of the Transport Select Committee blasted the government over the lack of information and guidance it was giving to diesel car drivers and fleets. She urged ministers to “recognise they are part of the story”.

Nevertheless, the same select committee was subsequently tasked to gather evidence on the prospects for Mobility as a Service (MaaS) removing the need for people or businesses to own any cars at all, diesel or otherwise.

MaaS is important, of course. It will be a core element of Future Mobility, and you can’t fault the level of analysis and attention to detail the government is investing in getting the UK’s strategy right.

But first thing’s first, we need a fix for UK new-car manufacturing and company vehicle sales now. Giving proper attention to tax policy and guidance is where government ministers need to focus their attention first off.

Surely that is not a lot to ask?