The Budget: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Chancellor of the Exchequer Alastair Darling has announced his budget for 2010 to a mixed reaction from the motoring industry and a distinctly angry reaction from cider drinkers.
However, the budget this year has one major flaw – most of the measures outlined in it are unlikely to be taken.

The General Election due this year, and if the Conservatives were to win, a new budget would be drawn up. At the moment, it is looking increasingly likely the Conservatives will oust Labour in the election.

If that doesn’t happen, what can the motoring industry expect from the latest budget?

The Good

There was good news for smaller dealerships with the announcement of a one year business rate cut from October. Darling predicts this will help over half a million smaller businesses, possibly including some smaller car dealerships.

As an added bonus, by doubling the annual investment allowance to £100,000, smaller businesses will be able to expand with more support than before.

Elsewhere, the green motoring industry, boosted by the production of the Nissan Leaf at the Sunderland plant, will benefit from a Green Investment Bank controlling £2 billion of equity.

Alongside renewable energy projects, greener transport was specifically identified by Darling. This could be a boost to UK production of plug-in hybrid and electric cars as well as the big issue with zero-emissions driving – enough fuelling points to make it a viable option.

Finally, motorists who don’t enjoy shelling out for new tyres and suspension will be pleased to see £100 million set aside for repairing potholes created by the recent winter weather. Granted, £100 million isn’t going to stretch far on local roads across the country, but it’s a start.

A more satisfactory £285 million has been set aside for motorway work, including more hard shoulder running schemes.

The Bad

The expected fuel tax of 3p was confirmed by Alastair Darling, albeit in three instalments of 1p increases in April, October and January next year.

Although better than expected, the move will still see petrol prices move towards the 120p per litre mark. Fuel tax has increased by an average of one per cent in each of the last 15 months, and the latest budget gives no sign of any respite for hard-hit motorists.

However, a small silver lining is the revised VED for lower-CO2 cars. With Vauxhall’s eco:FLEX range, Ford’s low-CO2 versions and sub-100g/km Citroen and Peugeot offerings, motorists can still find some savings on more efficient and cleaner cars.

The Ugly

There was good and bad news for the car industry, but it could be worse. You could be a cider-drinking, chain-smoking banker.