Against a backdrop of a better than expected economy and a warning that complacency would be dangerous, the Chancellor delivered his first and last March budget speech. With not a great deal of money to play with and the spectre of Article 50 and Brexit behind the government, this was a significant event for the Conservatives.
From a motor trade and transport perspective there were not a great deal of changes. Fuel duty frozen once more and funding up for driverless vehicles and EV research are encouraging, although the increase in VED rates from April 1st will still go ahead despite criticism of the revisions that will see major increases in revenues for the treasury. This will result in an increase in new car registrations in March as dealers and manufacturers seek to register those cars that will be negatively affected by the changes. Further investment in roads is also key and will help to keep the infrastructure fit for purpose.
The major point of concern remains the announcement that the Chancellor plans to change the way in which diesel cars are taxed. As such, the fleet industry is likely to take a pause as they wait for further news due later in the year. With the negative press surrounding diesel’s position in the market anyway, this further speculation is likely to hit private and business confidence and, consequently, new sales will be affected. It will be most interesting to see the depth of impact it will have on the used car market and - more importantly - whether used car values will be hit.