End of the road for the ‘tax disc’

From October 2014 motorists will no longer have to display their road tax disc in the windscreen of their vehicles. Even though the paper disc is to be scrapped motorists will still be paying Vehicle Excise Duty but the treasury claims that there will also be savings of £20  million for Britain’s hard-pressed motorists as a result of changes to the way car tax can be paid. The number of windscreens checked for tax discs by officers has dropped 75 per cent in the last five years, thanks to the electronic vehicle register that is used by both traffic police and the DVLA. A police source said ‘the tax disc is no longer needed for enforcement purposes, the police use numberplate recognition equipment. If they pull you over they can immediately tap into this database and see whether the car is taxed and insured…

New fuel benefit and van benefit charges announced for 2014/15

The Treasury has announced that fuel and van benefit charges are to see increases for the next tax year. The changes will see the company car fuel benefit charge multiplier rise from £21,100 for 2013/14 to £21,700 for 2014/15, making free private fuel even less worthwhile for fleet drivers. Meanwhile the van fuel benefit charge rises from £564 for the current tax year to £581. In addition, the van benefit charge is to rise from £3,000 for 2013/14 to £3,090 for 2014/15. Commenting on the changes to the company car fuel benefit charge, Jeff Whitcombe of BCF Wessex Consultants Limited pointed out that not only is there an increase of £600 in line with RPI and as announced in the 2013 Budget but also the appropriate BiK percentage for most cars will increase by 1% in April 2014 and fuel prices are at their…

Car insurance premiums rise for many UK businesses

Two-fifths of UK businesses have suffered from rising company car insurance premiums over the past 12 months, new research by TomTom Business Solutions has revealed. Companies could be doing more to address the risk factors affecting premium costs, however, as the survey 71% of companies do not provide regular training for drivers. Only 36% monitor driver performance as a means of assessing and reducing risk, with less than a quarter of those (22%) using technology to do so. Giles Margerison, director UK & Ireland, TomTom Business Solutions, said: “Too often cars are viewed as an employee benefit rather than a place of work, so more can be done by businesses to improve safety, reduce collision rates and drive down the cost of insurance premiums. “Initiatives such as regular staff communications, safety discussions, driver training and schemes for measuring and improving driver performance are powerful…

Government look to convert public sector fleets to EVs

Plans to encourage public sector car fleets to take up electric vehicles have been announced as the Government unveils its infrastructure spending plan. The National Infrastructure Plan commits over £375bn of planned public and private sector investment to energy, transport, communications and water projects and includes the announcement that the Government is to take forward steps to convert public sector car fleets to electric vehicles, investing £5m in a pilot during the year 2014 to 2015. The National Infrastructure Plan also includes the announcement of plans to make the UK a world centre for the testing and development of driverless cars, with the Government adding that it will conduct a review to ensure that the legislative and regulatory framework to support this aim, reporting late 2014. It will also create a £10m prize fund for a town or city to develop as a testing…

Fuel duty frozen and tax disc scrapped in Autumn Statement

The planned fuel duty increase for September 2014, expected to be worth 1.61p per litre, will be cancelled. The Chancellor George Osborne announced the freeze in the Autumn Statement. In total, fuel duty will have been frozen for nearly four and a half years, the longest freeze for over 20 years. Average pump prices are 13ppl lower than if the Government had implemented the fuel duty escalator, and will be 20ppl lower by the end of the Parliament. The Treasury says that this means that it currently costs the typical motorist £7 less to fill up their tank, and will cost £11 less by the end of the Parliament. ACFO chairman Damian James said: “The move gives some stability to fleets in their budget forecasting and is welcome at a time when the green shoots of economic recovery are sprouting.” In total, the Government…

FTA launches weather warning system for fleet managers

With weather reports of snow and ice on the way, the FTA (Freight Transport Association) is offering up-to-date information on traffic and weather conditions that might affect transport operators. FTA’s traffic service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing vital amber and red winter weather alerts. Daily updates give information on UK road traffic and weather conditions affecting freight operations, with additional alerts on severe incidents. There are also advance warnings of any severe weather forecasts issued by the Met Office. Further information is available on the FTA website . The FTA website also contains advice for managers and drivers on dealing with poor weather conditions, such as the importance of operators ensuring vehicles are properly kitted out for wintry conditions. For delivery fleets, when conditions are severe operators should consider contacting customers to discuss delivery expectations and prioritise to keep fleet…