How will the 2015 budget announcements affect you? - 24/03/2015

Will you notice much difference after the 2015 budget was announced? Here is a brief rundown of how it affects most motorists:

Fuel duty
The Chancellor froze fuel duty, scrapping the proposed 0.54p-per-litre duty escalator due in September 2015. 'I want to make sure that the falling oil price is passed on,' said Osborne, who called the five-year amnesty the longest fuel duty freeze for two decades. He claimed that his move would save motorists £10 every time they fill up - or £675 a year by 2016, according to Whitehall estimates. Hauliers will do even better, saving an estimated £21,000 per lorry annually.

Cheaper petrol in remote areas
'The government recognises that motorists in some rural areas face particularly high pump prices compared to the rest of the UK, and has now received full approval from the Council of the European Union to extend the rural fuel rebate scheme to 17 areas of the UK mainland, enabling retailers in eligible areas to register for a 5 pence per litre fuel duty discount.' Will that be passed on to motorists? That is the key question...

Weak oil prices: impact on UK drivers
'The fall in oil prices has supported household budgets,' the Budget documentation explains. 'Due to petrol pump prices falling by 19p per litre since March 2014, the cost of filling up a tank for the typical motorist has fallen by £11 since Budget 2014. The government has made very clear that it will watch industry to ensure that savings from the fall in oil prices are being passed through to consumers.' Coalition politicians across Westminster must be relieved that oil prices have handily dropped just in time for the General Election, just 50 days away...

Road tax
Annual road tax will rise by inflation from 1 April 2015. 'Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) rates for cars, vans, motorcycles and motorcycle trade licences will increase by RPI,' the Budget confirmed.

Classic car tax
As earlier announced, the rolling deadline for classic car VED tax exemption will switch to apply to all cars registered before 1 January 1976. Great news for owners of old bangers. But will they continue to bring the cut-off forwards, to allow more modern classics tax-exempt status?

Investment in roads
The Budget includes an update on roads spending. 'To improve the Strategic Road Network, 15 major schemes worth £3.4 billion have been completed with a further 16 schemes worth £2.3bn underway.' The Government said roads planned for upgrades include the A1, M62, M1, A556 and Mersey Gateway Bridge - and a tunnel under Stonehenge (that old chestnut!).

Company car tax
'Recent changes to the company car tax regime have supported the move to fuel efficient cars while ensuring that the benefit-in-kind is taxed fairly. The Budget announces that in 2019-20 rates for Ultra Low Emission Vehicles will increase more slowly than previously announced, and that rates for other cars will increase by three percentage points.'

Severn road crossing
In a surprise announcement, Osborne revealed that the toll for crossing the Severn bridge between England and Wales on the M4 would be 'reduced' from 2018. Some media are reporting the plan is to abolish it altogether, in the longer run. Great news for the 'Welsh tax' on the M4 westbound.

Investment in autonomous cars
A new £100 million investment was announced in autonomous car projects in the UK. The Government wants to make Britain a centre of excellence in driverless cars.

Car manufacturing
Osborne hailed the increase in manufacturing output, led by a buoyant car industry, and pointed to faster growth in the North than the South. 'Britain's manufacturing output has grown more than four-and-a-half times faster than it did in the entire decade before the crisis... We are seeing a truly national recovery,' said the Chancellor. It's worth noting that most of the UK's volume car factories are based in the Midlands (Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin) and the North (Nissan, Land Rover, Bentley).

Spending on transport
The Government commits to spending £29 billion as part of its public sector spending commitment 2015-16.

HGV drivers
The Budget spelled out measures to support Britain's lorry drivers, to tackle the shortage of skilled staff available as foreign hauliers are dominating.

Electric vehicle support
'The government announced in February 2015 the launch of a £10 million ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) battery prize, which will see a UK-based collaboration of manufacturers and researchers develop a new commercially viable battery pack for ULEVS. The winner will be announced in summer 2015.'

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