The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle across the UK, comments on the measures announced in today’s Budget.
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has upgraded its growth forecast for 2017 from 1.4% as predicted in November to 2%. The OBR is also expecting consumer spending to slow down.
Sue Robinson, NFDA Director, said, “The decision to revise growth forecasts for the year is a positive sign, which follows the better than expected performance of the UK economy over the final months of 2016 and its momentum in the beginning of 2017. We hope that the UK will continue to show its resilience in the upcoming months.”
Following the investment of £1.3 billion announced by the Chancellor in Autumn, the Government has confirmed that a further £690 million will be invested to tackle urban congestion in the UK and improve local transport networks. Also, £90 million will be made available to the North and £23 million for the Midlands, from a £220 million fund which addresses pinch points on national roads.
Sue Robinson, said, “UK roads development and maintenance was one of the crucial points outlined in the NFDA’s Budget submission and we are pleased to see that our concerns have been taken into consideration.
“A safe and efficient transport infrastructure is essential for a strong economy. Reducing congestion, increasing safety and improving journey times, will clearly benefit the UK economy facilitating the movement of both goods and people. Developing a strong internal transport infrastructure is key to our national economic development.”
The NFDA is aware of the Government’s commitment to improve air quality in the UK and that it is to consult on a draft plan in the spring which will set out how the UK’s air quality goals will be achieved. This will include looking at the appropriate tax treatment for diesel vehicles.
Robinson said, “Promoting the uptake of the latest low emission vehicles will bring substantial gains in air quality, but we urge the Government to have a coordinated approach with car dealers and manufacturers regarding this issue. We are looking forward to engaging with the Government ahead of making any tax changes at Autumn Budget 2017.”
The Budget does not make any major changes to business taxation.
Sue Robinson, “It is extremely positive to see that no additional business taxes have been introduced. The NFDA asked for a period of stability following the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, increases in employer national insurance and changes to business rates.
“We are pleased to see that businesses’ concerns have been listened to and that the Government has remained committed to reduce the corporation tax over the next years.”
The fuel duty freeze will remain in place.
Sue Robinson, “It is positive to see that the fuel duty has again been frozen. This will support motorists in a period of possible uncertainty due to factors such as the oil price rise and the weakening of the sterling.”
The Chancellor has announced that personal Allowance will rise for the seventh year in a row by £500 to £11,500. This will come into effect from 6th April 2017.
Sue Robinson, “The increase in personal allowance is positive news as more disposable income will continue to support consumer confidence, which drives not only our industry, but also the whole UK economy.”
Research and Development
The Government will allocate £270 million to develop solutions to technology challenges including artificial intelligence and robotic systems, as well as to support driverless and electric cars.
Robinson continued, “The UK wants to be at the forefront of modern transportation and these further investments will continue to benefit the growth of the country and the automotive industry”.
The chancellor announced the introduction of T-Levels for technical training of 16-19 years old. These will reduce 13,000 qualifications to just 15.
Robinson said, “We will be monitoring the situation and taking a closer look at the details surrounding the Government’s introduction of T-Levels for 16-19 years old.”
Consumer Affairs Green paper
The Consumers and Markets Green paper will be published shortly. It will look at developing proposals to protect consumers from facing unexpected payments when a subscription is renewed or when a free trial ends and considering how to make terms and conditions clearer, simpler and shorter.
Sue Robinson, NFDA Director, “A transparent and fair relationship is beneficial to both businesses and consumers. The NFDA, in line with its members’ views, supports the measure”.
The NFDA will now look at the Budget in detail and analyse the full impact of this on the retail motor sector.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
About the RMI
The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.