Chancellor freezes fuel duty but there's bad news for diesel
22 November 2017
Author: Debbie Wood
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has delivered his Autumn statement, which introduced a number of key changes for UK drivers.
Among the big headlines was the announcement that the expected fuel duty rise has been axed for a further 12 months, a welcome piece of news for many motorists.
Transport was a key focus in this Budget, with electric vehicles receiving a further £400 million boost in infrastructure investment.
"Today we step up our support for driverless cars; our future vehicles will be driverless but they'll be electric first and that's a change that needs to come as soon as possible for our planet," Hammond declared.
Hammond also confirmed the law will ensure those that charge vehicles at work will not face additional benefit in kind (BIK) charges.
For diesel however, the news was not so rosy.
The government's focus on air pollution has been gaining momentum over the past few months with new initiatives such as the T-Charge and parking surcharges introduced in London.
In addition, from April 2018 the first year vehicle excise duty rate for diesel cars that don't meet the latest standards will go up by one band to fund a new £220 million Clean Air Fund to provide support for local air quality plans.
For company car drivers a further 1% band increase will apply to diesel cars from April next year too, taking the surcharge up to 4%, with only the newest next-generation diesels that meet the Real Driving Emissions step 2 standard able to avoid this increase.
Both rises apply to cars only and will not affect vans.
The Chancellor also announced a further £500 million investment "in a range of initiatives from artificial intelligence, to 5G and full fibre broadband" and there will also be a new £1.7 billion Transforming Cities Fund to help local governments grow public transport.
The Budget speech began on the subject of Brexit and the challenges and opportunities the UK will face over the coming years. Another £3 billion was set aside over the next two years to ensure the country is prepared for every outcome.
"We aim to maintain fiscal responsibility, balancing with the cost of living, as we invest in the country's future, choosing a balanced approach between investment and supporting families," Hammond said.
Other news included a revision on OBR growth down to 1.5% for this year, a rise in the minimum wage to £7.83 from April, an extra £10 billion of capital investment in the NHS, and a freeze on duty on wine, beer and spirits.
From April personal allowance will rise to £11,850 and the 40% payers' threshold will be raised to £46,350.