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FLEET SPEAK: BVRLA's bad behaviour doesn't do it any favours

Date: 05 May 2010

Paul Barker is editor of BusinessCar

I like the BVRLA as an effective, vocal trade association and I'm very aware of the regard in which its chief executive John Lewis is held by the industry. However, its recent behaviour is beneath the standards expected of such a well-respected organisation.

Last month, it put out a statement contradicting and condemning BusinessCar's exclusive story in our 20 April issue about Conservative plans to modify company car tax should they win this week's election, accusing this magazine of "speculation" and taking the party's words "out of context".

Our story came directly from the Conservative Party, with Theresa Villiers, shadow transport secretary, saying: "An important priority for us is a simpler and more efficient tax system. This would provide the starting point for our approach to company car and vehicle taxation."

We took this to mean the Tories want a simpler and more efficient tax system, and to change the company car tax system would involve making changes to the current method. That would mean the present system would change, yet the BVRLA feels BusinessCar read too much into Ms Villiers' comments, and that what she said doesn't actually mean changes to the current system at all. I'll leave you to make up your own mind, but in our opinion it's a straightforward statement. There's no guarantee the Tories will win the election, and even if they do, many promises will fall by

the wayside. But, we felt such a strong statement from an influential MP is of interest.

Maybe the BVRLA was upset it wasn't asked to provide expert comment. But to insult the intelligence of this magazine, its readers and the entire industry is surprising, and an important and previously well-regarded trade association has let itself down by stooping to unnecessary depths.

Paul Barker