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Damian James' Blog: 21 June 2010 - Salary sacrifice and EVs are hot topics

Date: 21 June 2010

Damian James is Head of Transport Provision for Bracknell Forest Council and a technology champion

It was good value this week at the regional ACFO meeting that I attended. There were presentations on two hot topics which generated a lively debate amongst the attendees.

Salary Sacrifice schemes

If salary sacrifice schemes are the answer to everyone's problems why isn't the take up any higher? As usual the devil is in the detail and now having being armed of all the facts thanks to the presentation by Leaseplan I can start to see why. These schemes could have significant benefits but there are a myriad of complexities that both driver and organisation have to work through in order for any disadvantages not to outweigh the advantages. Examples of some of the things that have to be considered from the driver's side are - benefit in kind tax, pensions, statutory sick pay, and maternity benefits. Corporately areas such as National Insurance, early termination costs and staff attrition rates need to be investigated.

All the advice says that before you do anything a significant amount of background work needs to be undertaken and that salary sacrifice schemes are certainly not the answer to all company car issues. However as they are the latest buzz word in the industry I'm sure we have not heard the last about them.

Electric Vehicles (EVs)

Would you put electric vehicles on your fleet was the question posed in the second presentation. You know my answer to this from my recent blog (see related story: Is there an alternative? ). Luckily there was an employee of Renault in the audience who was able to give us the facts and answer the questions about their electric vehicle plans for 2011. I got the feeling there was lots of support around the idea of EVs but for this support to turn into a commitment was going to require an awful lot of convincing over the next 18 months.

The conclusion was most definitely that EVs are only going to satisfy a very small percentage of the fleet market for some considerable time to come. It will be a long time yet before we will be abandoning the traditional fuel pump.

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