Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Paul Barker's blog: 27 November - It was a good Budget - unless you're in fleet
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Paul Barker's blog: 27 November - It was a good Budget - unless you're in fleet

Date: 27 November 2015   |   Author:

Amid the generally positive response to last week's Autumn Statement, the chancellor seems to have got away with a line that might have seen Pinocchio taking out the nearest wall.

The justification for a benefit-in-kind U-turn, that will bring in almost £1.4bn for the Treasury from UK companies and company car drivers, was that the introduction of more rigorous EU emissions testing has been "slower than had been expected".

A couple of points here. Industry contacts I spoke to last week confirmed that the switch to the supposed more 'real-world' testing system is still running to the same schedule it has always been, which means implementation over the next couple of years.

And if it's running late then that's surely the fault of Government at UK or European level, rather than the humble company car driver or even vehicle manufacturers.

Plus, that schedule certainly hasn't shifted significantly since the chancellor had chances to give company car drivers and operators more advanced warning in either the previous full Budget in April, or July's 'emergency' Budget following the election.

If George Osborne was genuine in playing the environmental card, rather than my preferred explanation of using the public groundswell of poorly informed opinion around the VW scandal to sneak some money back, then he could have penalised diesels in a revenue-neutral way, encouraging people into more efficient cars at the same time.

I know it's naive to expect honesty from politicians, but spewing such garbage and then sitting back and extracting £1.4bn between 2016 and 2021 on the justification he seems to have invented is more than merely unacceptable.