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130313 BudgetThe National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) represents 4,700 franchised dealers that sell, service and repair new and used vehicles, employing individuals in the customer-facing side of the motor industry.

“Today’s budget announcement continues to encourage long term investment and help businesses. The government made clear their intention to ensure the UK economy remains on track.

“The measures announced will help businesses allowing more money to be invested in growth and employment. We are encouraged to see the further reduction in corporation tax following previous announcements and also the changes to the administration around the rating regime.

“The holding of fuel duty rates will be of benefit to consumer – saving houses an average of £75 a year for the average household, allowing consumers more money to invest and spend elsewhere.”


A somewhat overshadowed event this year, the 2016 Chancellor’s Budget Statement has today (16 March 2016) come and gone. This was a chance for Chancellor, George Osborne, not only to appeal to the electorate but also his party. With David Cameron confirmed to be stepping down as Conservative Party leader at the end of this Parliament, the unofficial contest for Tory leadership is now underway. With Osborne a firm candidate, Budget speeches are now ‘prime time’ to showcase his abilities. The problem however; can George really use this as an opportunity to out-show rival Boris Johnson, or is the Budget deficit too great and his austerity cuts too necessary to try and have mass appeal? With an expected £4bn of spending cuts, the balance seemed somewhat impossible.

However, what George delivered was a showcase of voter friendly policies, skating over the fact that the UK’s GDP is down. Some commentators have mentioned that the Budget did not hurt as badly as expected, Labour said this was a Budget based completely on unfairness. An assessment of the small print is always required before full praise or criticism in given but on first impressions, the Budget will undoubtedly win George some following.

Alongside trying to please the electorate, whilst balancing the deficit, the Chancellor is now also attempting to appeal to his party. As the Conservative party remains staunchly divided on the EU referendum, further alienation of backbench Tory MPs is ever possible. Would once certain tax rises, such as fuel duty, now be put aside to appease party politics? It looks like George played it safe.


  • Fuel duty to remain frozen for sixth year
  • The main rates of HGV VED and Road User Levy frozen in 2016-17
  • The rates of car, van and motorcycle VED, Van Benefit Charge and van and car Fuel Benefit Charge are being raised in line with inflation
  • Government will continue to incentivise the uptake of zero emission vans by retaining the beneficial Van Benefit Charge rates for these vehicles for a further two years
  • 0.5% increase in the standard rate of Insurance Premium Tax.
  • Business rates relief for businesses under £15,000
  • Corporation tax will be cut to 17% by April 2020
  • Tax free allowance to be raised to £11,500
  • 40p rate to be moved to £45,000


  • There will be an extension on the 100% first year allowance for businesses purchasing low emission cars for a further three years to April 2021
  • lower the main rate threshold for capital allowances for business cars to 110 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilometre and the first year allowance threshold to 50 grams of CO2 per kilometre from April 2018, to reflect falling emissions, and review the rates from April 2021 onwards at Budget 2019
  • Continue to base Company Car Tax on CO2 emissions of cars, and consult on reforming the lower CO2 bands for Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles to refocus incentives on the cleanest cars beyond 2020-21
  • The government is also considering limiting the range of benefits-in-kind that can attract an income tax and NICs advantage when they are provided as part of salary sacrifice schemes

So what was rumoured, what was liked and what were the voices against?

Reduced business regulation and tax simplification

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) called for a reduction in financial and regulatory burdens on businesses, a sentiment aired by the RMI’s own National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Business rates

The CBI believes that linking business rates to the consumer price index (CPI) rather than the retail price index (RPI) and taking small businesses out of the tax altogether is essential. This is a sentiment that has been endorsed by the National Motorcycle Dealers Association (NMDA), also hopeful to see this mentioned in the Budget.


  • Business rate relief is to be raised from £6,000 to £15,000 permanently
  • Higher rate will be raised from £18,000 to £51,000
  • From 2020, switch the uprating from the higher RPI to the lower CPI.

This means that from April 2017, 600,000 small businesses will no longer pay business rates, an annual saving of up to nearly £6,000.


The business secretary Sajid Javid also announced a new Government plan to reduce £10bn worth of regulation at the British Chambers of Commerce conference, would this too be a topic of coverage in the Budget?

Prior to the Budget, the NFDA was pleased to see that the OTS (Office of Tax Simplification), an independent tax body within the treasury, had warned the government that the UK’s national insurance regime is ‘no longer fit for purpose’. At present, income tax liabilities are based on annual earnings while NICs depend on earnings in a single salary period. The OTS was set to propose the NICs to be calculated on an annual basis, with taxpayers having a NIC ‘code’ like their current tax code. Another hopeful policy.

Sue Robinson, Director of the NFDA said “Merging the two taxes would prevent anomalies considering that taxpayers would pay the same amount for their NICs regardless of how they work and when they are paid.

“Previously the NFDA has expressed concerns regarding current issues such as the new pension and living wage and how these might incur costs to businesses.

“In this case, the NFDA believes that the simplification would bring several benefits especially in a long term perspective.”

Reality: there will be an abolition of Class 2 National Insurance Contributions from self-employed by 2018.

Insurance premiums

As the big date loomed ever closer, insurance premium tax was the next topic of conversation. “Yet another hike in car insurance premiums will surely follow hot on the heels of an increase in insurance premium tax,” said Jonathan Wheeler, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

“In November’s Autumn Statement, the Chancellor was so determined to reduce car insurance premiums that he announced the right to claim damages for some whiplash injuries would be removed.”

These sentiments were also highlighted by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), stating increasing Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) in [the] Budget would be a raid on the responsible that hits those who do the right thing the hardest.

A further increase in IPT – an indirect tax that affects households and businesses that purchase insurance – would be felt the most by those who pay the highest insurance premiums, such as younger and older drivers.

Reality: Insurance Premium Tax to rise by 0.5%.

Excise Duty

Fuel duty

Fuel duty was a hotly tipped Budget topic of contention. With falls in oil prices throughout 2015, it was strongly rumoured to much aversion, that the Chancellor would impose the first increase in fuel duty since 2010. However, a number of Tory MPs united against this, pushing the Chancellor to keep the fuel duty freeze. With tensions in the Conservative party already high and stakeholders voicing their discontent, the ‘will he, won’t he?’ question hung thick in the air.

The  Petrol Retailer’s Association (PRA) were among those voicing concerns. PRA Chairman, Brian Madderson, stated “The Chancellor must keep duty down following the extraordinary rise in wholesale cost of fuel that we have seen in recent weeks, Motorists and businesses should expect a rapid rise in pump prices in the days ahead of around 5p per litre…  fuel duty and VAT already represent around 75 per cent of the average pump price purchase.  A duty increase could take us back to the days of the haulage industry’s fuel supply blockades.”

Reality: there is not going to be an increase in fuel duty, this will remain frozen for the sixth year.

Tobacco, alcohol, sugar

Rumours also began circulating that tobacco duty would see an increase, this would be far more consumer and party friendly than petrol duty. The expectation was an additional 16 pence to a pack of cigarettes and the potential to introduce a minimum price per pack.


  • Tobacco duty will rise by 2% above inflation from 6pm on 16 March 2016
  • Hand rolling tobacco will rise by an additional 3%
  • There will be a floor price of cigarettes and a consultation on increased sanction for tobacco fraud.
  • Freeze on beer and cider duty and whisky and other spirits this year, all other alcohol duties will rise by inflation.
  • Sugar levy on soft drinks industry to be introduced, Osborne admits this may be passed on to consumers.

Stakeholder comments

National Franchised Dealers Association

NFDA Budget Comment

The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) represents 4,700 franchised dealers that sell, service and repair new and used vehicles, employing individuals in the customer-facing side of the motor industry.

“Today’s budget announcement continues to encourage long term investment and help businesses. The government made clear their intention to ensure the UK economy remains on track

“The measures announced will help businesses allowing more money to be invested in growth and employment. We are encouraged to see the further reduction in corporation tax following previous announcements and also the changes to the administration around the rating regime.

“The holding of fuel duty rates will be of benefit to consumer – saving houses an average of £75 a year for the average household, allowing consumers more money to invest and spend elsewhere.”

Sue Robinson, NFDA Director


It was announced that corporation tax will be cut to 17% by April 2020 – making it one of the lowest rates in the world. 


The Chancellor announced reforms to business rates for small businesses.  Many businesses will be removed from paying rates, and there will also be simplifications to the administration and calculation of rates.


Commercial stamp duty is to be reformed following the success of the changes to residential duty last year. Rates will be reduced mainly for the benefit of small businesses.


This is to be increased by 0.5%. It was announced that any income raised will be put towards flood defense projects


It was positive to head that fuel duty will remain frozen for the sixth year in a row. 

Petrol Retailers Association

PRA Budget Comment


The Petrol Retailers’ Association welcomes the Chancellors announcement in today’s budget to continue freezing fuel duty for a further 12 months till April 2017.

The PRA has been lobbying Government and the Treasury on this – in particular outlining the potentially damaging effects on the economy and household budgets of even an inflation-linked rise, so it is good news to hear the Chancellor’s commitment.

Today’s announcement will save households an average of £75 a year, and £250 for businesses.


The government has made no mention of the inefficient work by the Value Office Agency (VOA) allowing a number of hand car washes (HCW) – that are often unregulated and damaging local water tables with their chemical pollutants* to escape appropriate business rates.

This missed tax revenue opportunity could have produced up to £1bn since 2010* – which if collected would have enabled the Chancellor to cut fuel duty rather than just freezing it for the sixth year in a row.

Such a move would also have provided a level playing field for independent forecourt operators with automatic (ACW) and hand car washes (HCW) whose financial sustainability continues to be threatened as shown by over 165 closures in 2015.**


The PRA is also pleased to hear that the Government will consult on increased sanctions to prevent tobacco fraud. We have been wary of the increases to tobacco tax as HMRC figures show that there has been a rise in illicit trade. We welcome more details on the consultation in due course.

Brian Madderson

Chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association

Confederation of British Business (CBI)

The CBI has responded to the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Budget.  A full reaction will follow later.

CBI Director-General, Carolyn Fairbairn, said:

“After a year of surprises, this was a stable Budget for business facing global stormy waters.  The Chancellor has listened to our concerns about the mounting burden on firms and chosen to back business to grow the economy out of the deficit.

“Businesses will welcome the Chancellor’s permanent reforms to business rates – taking more small firms out of the regime and changing the uprating mechanism from RPI to CPI, which the CBI has long been calling for.

“The reduction in the headline Corporation Tax rate sends out a strong signal that the UK is open for global business investment, and reforms to Interest Deductibility are in rightly in line with the international consensus.

“Changes to the tax treatment of losses will make it harder for larger scale-up firms and companies that have been through tough times to play their part in the recovery.

“Progress on some key infrastructure projects, from HS3 to 5G, are positive.  Investors and companies will be encouraged by the greater clarity and simplification of the Government’s energy policy.”

Federation of Small Businesses

Budget 2016: Chancellor’s Budget backs small business

Responding to Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget 2016 speech, Mike Cherry, Policy Director at the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“In a Budget constrained by both the need to reduce the deficit and the economic outlook, the Chancellor has listened to our calls for the tax system to be made simpler for small businesses and the self-employed and taken important action on business rates.

“In particular, FSB members have campaigned hard to make Small Business Rates Relief permanent, and expand it – and the Chancellor has heeded our calls, taking many small firms out of the system altogether. The combined measures announced on business rates – the single biggest tax cut in today’s Budget – will be viewed by our members as a welcome and important step on the road to fundamental reform. In addition, online retailers will benefit from steps to secure a level playing field for smaller online businesses on VAT.

“Freezing fuel duty will be universally welcomed by small businesses right across the country.

“Furthermore, the new devolution deals, alongside increased investment in roads, rail, and flood defences, should give a much needed boost to the UK’s infrastructure. Altogether, these measures should help to drive productivity and boost small business confidence levels, which have faltered recently in the face of a number of domestic policy and global economic challenges.”


Budget 2016: RAC reacts to Budget 2016 fuel duty announcement

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “Motorists will be relieved that the Chancellor has not used low fuel prices as an opportunity to raise duty on petrol and diesel to help reduce the deficit.

“But, with the Government’s own evidence showing that lower fuel prices are good for the economy, we are disappointed Mr Osborne didn’t make a longer-term commitment to freeze duty beyond next year’s Budget. This would have been the ideal opportunity for the Chancellor to freeze fuel duty for the life of this Parliament and improve his already good record on fuel duty.”

Budget 2016: Insurance Premium Tax

RAC Insurance director Mark Godfrey said: “The Treasury is already set to raise £386m from car insurance policies as a result of increasing IPT from 3.5% to 9.5% from 1st November last year. Regardless of whether motorists should be contributing another £52m from their car insurance policies to pay for flood defences, it is unclear whether money generated from IPT will continue to be ring-fenced in this way further into the future.

“The Chancellor clearly sees IPT as a soft target, presumably as a result of getting away with raising it last summer with very little complaint from consumers or the insurance industry.

“What makes this latest IPT rise a particularly bitter pill for the insurance industry to swallow, alongside the implementation costs, is the fact that we are yet to see any of the insurance premium reductions mooted in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement from new initiatives aimed at cutting compensation claims for soft tissue injuries in the small claims courts. In fact the cost of insurance is rising, in part due to his previous IPT rise.”

Freight Transport Association

Budget 2016: Fuel Duty freeze: good but not great, says FTA

Whilst the Chancellor’s announcement to freeze fuel in today’s Budget has been welcomed by the FTA it has also expressed disappointment that he did not take the opportunity to reduce fuel duty – stating that he could have done better.

The Freight Transport Association has said that George Osborne has missed the opportunity to boost economy by introducing a reduction in fuel duty by 3 pence per litre. In its pre-Budget submission FTA told the Chancellor that a reduction would make an important contribution towards protecting the UK economy.

James Hookham, FTA Managing Director of Policy and Communications said:

“A further freeze of duties is welcome but the Chancellor missed a chance to give a boost to the stuttering economy by reducing the tax on an essential business input”

As part of its pre-Budget submission, FTA asked the Chancellor to consider the economic benefits that could be delivered by further development of the government’s approach to fuel duty. The Association said that reducing road fuel duty would ease cost pressure on businesses operating commercial vehicles and stimulate economic growth.

FTA figures estimate that every penny of fuel duty costs commercial vehicle operators £120 million a year, and a 3ppl cut would have saved around £350 million a year for an industry that all British businesses rely upon.

As a founder member of FairFuelUK FTA has been campaigning for a 3p per litre cut in fuel duty. Industry currently pays around £7 billion annually in duty and an increase of just one penny would add £470 a year to the cost of running a 44-tonne truck, which would have a huge impact on transport operators.

Also included in the FTA pre-Budget submission was the need to address a continued skills shortage in the freight and logistics industry, the importance of investing in infrastructure, and highlights measures that it believes are necessary to ensure that the industry can continue to play its role in supporting the economy as it grows


Budget 2016: Sweetener for Drivers on Fuel but Sour Taste on Insurance Tax

Edmund King OBE, AA president, said: “ The Chancellor has listened to our campaign against a 3% hike in Insurance Premium Tax and 0.5% increase is better than expected. Using it for flood defences is helpful but it simply replaces past spending cuts and in effect targeting motorists to pay for flood alleviation is robbing Peter to pay Paul.

“A continued freeze on fuel duty sugar-coats an increase in Insurance Premium Tax of 4% since 1 November (3.5% then and a further 0.5% announced today).

“We are delighted that the Chancellor has resisted the temptation to increase fuel duty which will bring relief at the pumps for millions of motorists. So the Chancellor has introduced a sweetener for drivers on the fuel duty freeze but a 4% increase in insurance tax since November 2015 still leaves a sour taste.

“Halving the tax on travelling to Wales in the form of the reduced Severn Crossing toll in 2018 is welcome but we should follow the Scottish example and remove all bridge tolls. More money on roads in the North will help and upgrades to the A66 and A69 are long overdue.

“Upgrades to east-west road links are absolutely essential as they lag behind north-south connections. The lack of road capacity is a barrier to trade and mobility. Plans to upgrade the M62 motorway to the east and west of Manchester are long overdue as we’ve seen very little spent on cross-country infrastructure.

“However the government must not skimp on safety, as an increasing number of AA members were becoming stranded in live lanes on smart motorway sections due to a lack of emergency laybys. The design recommends an emergency refuge area every 2.5km but we need to see double the number to keep these supposedly SMART roads safe.”

Countryside Alliance

Budget 2016: Quote on today’s budget from the Countryside Alliance

Sarah Lee, head of policy at the Countryside Alliance, comments:

“The Countryside Alliance welcomes the Chancellor’s commitment in today’s Budget to support small businesses by cutting business rates or abolishing them for 600,000 businesses. Small businesses are the backbone of the rural economy and these proposals will ensure that businesses in our rural communities can remain competitive not only locally but nationally and globally.  Coupled with the Chancellor’s recognition of the cost of fuel for businesses and households with the freezing of fuel duty for the sixth year running, hardworking people in the countryside will have more money in their pocket.”






Posted by Sue Robinson on 18/03/2016