The dawn of the New Year took on a somewhat bum note for business drivers and other motorists thanks to a double whammy of cost increases to swallow, with a headline from the BBC1 reporting that ‘fuel prices hit 18-month high after OPEC production cuts’ and ITV News stating ‘drivers face most expensive petrol prices in two years’. The 24% jump in the price of oil seen from mid-November to the end of December contributed to petrol and diesel prices increasing by over 3p per litre during the festive month.
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With Mr Osborne set to deliver his 2016 Budget in less than a fortnight’s time and with debate roaring over Brexit, what are the possible implications for contractors and other business drivers?
In February, the BVRLA – the trade body for the car leasing industry – claimed that since 2010 the government’s company car taxation policies have exposed road users and indeed society as a whole to dirtier, more dangerous vehicles. Gerry Keaney, the BVRLA’s Chief Executive, labelled Mr Osborne’s “series of tax increases as both unfair and unsignposted”, pointing to 30,000 fewer employees who have chosen company car packages over the last five years.
Pickup trucks are the backbone of many successful businesses around the UK, with the added bonuses of mean styling and toweringly lofty driving positions, the latter having become increasingly desirable for private motorists too. To date, only the Volkswagen Amarok has flirted with taking the pickup truck segment upmarket, but an announcement from Mercedes-Benz means that construction businesses and tradespeople will be able to combine the best of all worlds when its new X-Class takes to the road. It’ll be available in two distinct versions, the choice coming down to how ‘hands-on’ one’s job role is.
Rail passenger satisfaction recently rose overall for the first time in three years, but with less than half of the 28,000 train travellers surveyed saying they feel ticket prices represent value for money and with delays still regularly experienced especially in London and Manchester where major upgrades are still in progress, the car certainly remains the most convenient transportation method for contractors.
Each contractor’s business is different so when weighing up the financial pros and cons of leasing a brand new vehicle on business contract hire, purchasing it outright or obtaining a business loan to finance it, Umbrella’s accountants are here to provide BIK (Benefit in Kind), P11D, CO2 and other advice based on a contractor or company’s actual figures.