Despite professing a commitment to growth and building for the future, the notable absence of clear measures that support progress towards net-zero targets and enable businesses and consumers to prepare in good time for the 2030 ban on the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles is disappointing. Whilst demand for EVs continues to grow, with BEV forming 33% of Alphabet new car orders in the first two months of this year, government incentives and further investment in charging infrastructure are crucial to maintaining adoption rates.
We are moving away from the early EV adopter population who have transitioned because they can charge easily at home or have access to sufficient workplace charging. Now is the time to ramp up support for the wider population of drivers who are unable to charge at home. These drivers are currently faced with paying a significant premium to use the public charging network and the government has, yet again, failed to address inequity in the VAT treatment between home and public charging. Eliminating this disparity would not only have a huge impact for existing drivers, it’s also a very persuasive factor for those fleets and drivers who are yet to make the transition and are debating whether they switch to EVs now or wait for another renewal cycle.
We of course welcome the Chancellor extending much-needed support that goes some way to help tackle rising mobility costs by freezing fuel duty and maintaining the Energy Price Guarantee for households. However, more needs to be done to keep sustainability on the agenda; adequate incentives must be provided and key infrastructure projects accelerated in order to drive decarbonisation and electrification forward.
And while it’s good to see the government has acknowledged the need to encourage ongoing business investment by announcing a successor to the super deduction, the new three-year full expensing policy remains limited in scope. We, like many in the industry, wanted the government to expand the provision and enable more businesses to benefit from this type of tax relief with the inclusion of cars and leased vehicles. This was a prime opportunity to broaden support that has sadly been missed.