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Paul Barker's blog: 26 March 2014 - Business car drivers out in the cold

Date: 26 March 2014

Paul Barker is editor of BusinessCar

Chancellor George Osborne was a little disingenuous in his Budget statement last week when he threw in the two percentage point BIK rises along with a comment about "increasing the discount for low-emission vehicles".

Even the Treasury's press office couldn't come up with how the Government is doing that when it's also narrowing the BIK band gap between ultra low-emission vehicles and conventional models. 

The BVRLA and ACFO were both suitably scathing of the lack of incentives to help the adoption of plug-in models, as the BIK penalties are likely to harm adoption rather than help it, and there seems to be nothing else new in the Budget to incentivise the uptake of this fledgling technology. 

But the BIK increases themselves are getting to draconian levels, especially with the chancellor crowing about how this is a Budget for the "makers, the doers and the savers".

Drivers of cars with emissions between 76-184g/km will watch their BIK jump by nine bands between now and April 2018, which is crippling and will make a huge difference to monthly payments. 

Plus, the Government has failed to provide tax incentives for continual downward movement of emissions.

Once a regular diesel model is below 95g/km, the next BIK band is at 75g/km, and the investment needed to get there just isn't worth it.

Chipping away by a few grammes per kilometre has no benefit once below 95g/km, which undermines the whole principle of pushing drivers into lower-emitting vehicles, and instead simply plunders the pockets of company car drivers who can do little to stop it, except maybe opt out of a fleet car and move to a likely higher-emitting cash options instead.

Which isn't good news for anyone.