“FairFuelUK warmly welcomes freezing Fuel Duty for the 12th year. FairFuelUK unashamedly takes some of the campaigning credit for the longest period of any UK excise levy being capped. This is great news and some relief for hard pressed drivers. Congratulations Rishi, thanks for listening to Robert Halfon MP, Craig Mackinlay MP, our 1.7m supporters and the vast majority of the electorate.”

“But it was an opportunity missed too. With pump prices at their highest ever, meaning the Treasury is wallowing in a £1bn unexpected windfall, it was a time for the Government to have cut Fuel Duty significantly. It was a time too, to incentivise drivers to move to cleaner fuels and put a moratorium on the unpopular 2030 ban on new diesel and petrol car sales, until more cleaner fuel technologies come forward.”

“For these reasons, it is imperative to take these points on board: UK drivers still remain one of world’s top 3 nations’ highest taxed motorists, face an uncontrolled pump pricing lottery, congestion, and clean air charges plus a perpetual demonisation for all the environmental ills of our planet.”

“FairFuelUK, will continue to campaign for UK’s 37m drivers to be treated better by this disappointingly anti-driver Conservative administration. On behalf of motorists, motorcyclists, taxis, van drivers and much maligned hauliers, we will continue to fight hard for fairer taxation, improved road user policies, better more practical and equitable ways to lower emissions, and for all politicos to recognise that drivers are not just cash cows, but vital contributors to a successful economy and recovering from the Covid caused fiscal crisis.”

Howard Cox, FairFuelUK Founder

“There’s quite a lot of economic news in the Budget that, even looking back just a year, we would very much have welcomed in the midst of the pandemic. Growth is higher than expected, unemployment has remained relatively low, and government debt appears to be high but under control. On the other hand, there is no denying that the economy continues to suffer from the effects of Covid, Brexit, the semiconductor shortage and more. The impact of all of these factors is difficult to predict over time and, in addition, it seems very likely that many people will find their personal spending power noticeably reduced over the coming year and longer, especially given that inflation is expected to be higher than 4%. From a motor finance point of view, we don’t believe these represent specific threats to the current buoyancy of the used car market and expect a strong 2022 – but it should definitely be noted that the road ahead for the general economy could be pretty bumpy.”

Paul Burgess, CEO, Startline Motor Finance

“So much of the Budget was leaked beforehand that there were few surprises today and really the most interesting parts were the macroeconomic forecasts that showed, by and large, that the economy has weathered the effects of Covid really quite well. In itself, that is the best news for vehicle retailers in the UK. Despite that, there are a whole host of potential downsides in play – from the forecast 4% inflation for next year through to the ongoing effects of Brexit and the semiconductor shortage – that were not really tackled in any meaningful way. If there are any threats to the new and used sectors in the short and medium term, this is where they will lie. However, our overall view remains that the market should be able to maintain momentum very close to its current level.”

James Tew, CEO, iVendi

“The Chancellor’s budget did little to address ongoing pressures being felt across the UK manufacturing sector including supply chain issues and rising shipping and fuel costs.

“The highlight for manufacturers will be the positive expected tax relief from the increased scope of qualifying costs within the R&D Tax Reliefs regime to include certain data and ‘cloud’ costs which up to now were the burden of businesses. However, the Chancellor should have gone further by making Robotic Process Automation software costs a specific inclusion as a qualifying cost, which would help the government accelerate its aim of ‘high productivity, high wages’ across the economy.

“The extension of the £1m Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) until the end of March 2023 is welcome but is unlikely to change many businesses’ investment plans and certainly will not offset the negative financial impact to come from the rise in Corporation Tax announced in the March 2021 budget, or the increased level of National Insurance for employers (which will become the Health and Social Care Levy) announced in September.
“The increase to the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage which will come into effect from April 2022 are clearly beneficial for employees but will add to the wage inflation being experienced by employers. The combined impact of the NIC increases and the Minimum/Living Wage levels will automatically cause wage inflation of more than 5% for many employers from April 2022. Ultimately these will likely end up being passed on to end consumers.

“In short, it was a very quiet budget for the manufacturing sector that did little to solve the ongoing issues being experienced across the sector. As some in the industry have said, it may not be a ‘high productivity, high pay’ economy but more a ‘high cost’ economy.”

Alastair Wilson, Tax Partner at MHA

“The Chancellor’s measures to potentially restrict R&D Tax Relief from being available to companies carrying out R&D work abroad, are in direct contradiction to the government’s ‘Global Britain’ and ‘Science Superpower’ ambitions.

“Although it is understandable the government is keen to ensure that the benefits of tax relief are realised in the UK, modern SMEs are increasingly reliant on foreign specialist manufacturers and coders, while the complex design and analysis work still is undertaken in the UK. The blanket approach announced today will discriminate against companies with a genuine presence in the UK but plugged into international talent networks.

“The government’s claims about how the UK is to be a significant R&D player on the global stage do not reconcile with the roll back of the target of publicly funded R&D from £22Billion to £20Billion for 2024-25. Other modern economies recognise publicly funded R&D as a critical investment vehicle, especially needed for high-risk and high-payoff research.

“So all in all, this budget, whatever its merits in other respects, was not a great showcase for Britain as a science superpower.”

Jay Bhatti, R&D tax specialist at MHA

“We welcome that the Chancellor has announced a five-year spending commitment for local roads, but the sums announced today suggest little movement on current levels – so we look forward to reviewing the detail.

“ALARM 2021* reported that the backlog of repairs is now more than £10 billion**, with local authorities reporting that if they had sufficient funds to meet their target conditions there would be an additional 14,400 miles of roads in a good state of repair and another 2,000 fewer miles in urgent need of repair.

“What’s needed is an investment of at least an additional £1.5 billion per year from Central Government sources on 2021 levels if the backlog of repairs to be tackled and further decline prevented.”

AIA Chair, Rick Green

“Fleets are facing a number of difficult issues at the moment – new car supply, problems arising from Brexit, driver shortages, the process of electrification and more. There was little in the Budget to help them tackle these issues directly, with the possible exception of the fuel duty freeze, but the good news is the overall economic forecast we are hearing is significantly more positive than might have been imagined when we were deep in the Covid crisis. I would broadly agree with the Chancellor when he says that growth is up, jobs are up and debt is down, but with the sizeable caveat that the points from which we started were in the depths of the pandemic when business activity was very low. Really, this is the most important news from this Budget – that following a massive, perhaps unprecedented economic shock, the situation is now relatively stable, although there remains potential for the problems we face to cause major, ongoing operational and cost difficulties.”

Debbie Fox, commercial director, epyx