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Fleet bosses demand tax breaks for safety and eco-friendly extras

Date: 25 July 2007

At its inaugural meeting the BusinessCar Panel said more must be done to drive the take-up of satnav and ESC

The BusinessCar Panel has challenged the Government to review the tax liability for safety features to show it is serious about improving road safety.

In its inaugural meet, Mitch Elliot, fleet boss of Lincolnshire County Council, laid down the gauntlet for the HMRC to review P11Ds and the added tax liability that comes when extras such as anti-skid control (ESC) and satnav are ticked on manufacturers' options lists.

Elliot said: "If such essential safety components had no tax liability there would be a greater encouragement to take them up."

The tax relief was also proposed for potentially fuel-saving options such as satnav, which can reduce miles driven when lost.

Eileen Cutting, fleet manager for facilities services firm MacLellan, said the tax attached to an expensive option such as satnav, which could boost the environmental policies of her company, puts drivers off.

Cutting said: "As soon as drivers realise they have to pay tax on the pricey extra they say, 'oh no, don't want it.'"

Elliot also highlighted a potential conflict of interest that could cloud a Governmental review: "Every year the Government states how many millions of miles are driven getting lost. The problem is, if you get lost the Chancellor wins with the fuel used - you have one side wanting to improve things with the Exchequer on the other not wanting to lose its pound of flesh."

Handbooks

With regards to satnav all our panellists agreed that the all too common and potentially dangerous re-routing to avoid congestion could distract drivers and lead to an accident. The consensus was, though, that many fleet policies have neglected to prohibit satnav'ing on the move.

However, solicitor John Hesketh who specialises in motoring defence cases and manages Colemans-Ctts law firm's fleet, does have such a measure already in place.

Hesketh said: "Our policy states drivers are only allowed to input when stationary, so this could be at traffic lights or in a queue on a motorway."

One of the reasons why firms may not have updated their fleet handbooks...

CONTINUED...



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