While many have been talking about chancellor of the exchequer the right honourable Phillip Hammond MP’s decision to increase the personal allowance threshold from £11,850 to £12,500 in April 2019, for those of us connected to the automotive and transport industries this year speech is probably best described as a pothole budget. True Hammond has raised personal allowance threshold and has raised the point at which people start paying higher rate tax (40 per cent) to £50,000, but the automotive industry was hoping for much more clarity and even support the wake of a Brexit-fuelled, uncertainty ridden market context.
UK chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond’s spring Budget contained the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) upgraded growth forecasts for 2017, while predicting lower – but rising – figures for the years following the assumed activation of Article 50 as the country leaves the European Union. The government also confirmed an extra £690 million will be added to the £1.3 billion announced in autumn to improve transport networks in urban areas. In other transport news, the freeze on fuel duty has been retained.
While welcoming chancellor of the exchequer Phillip Hammond’s transport announcements in the 2016 Autumn Statement, KPMG analysts have criticised the focus on increasing capacity, rather than “making more from the capacity” the UK has already.
While the consumer pre-coverage of the Autumn Statement focused on government’s decision to ban upfront residential fees letting, in fact Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond revealed something of his past as a transport secretary by announcing a series of investments in transport.
At the top of the list, £23 billion to be spent on innovation and infrastructure over five years. The chancellor also announced £2 billion per year by 2020 for research and development funding. And £1.1 billion extra will be spent on English local transport networks. £220 million aims to reduce traffic pinch points. All are likely to support the development both the automotive manufacturing and fleet businesses the tyre industry relies on for growth.
It seems reports of the demise of the Department for Transport (DfT) were over stated. On 16 July – coincidently the day of the annual TyreSafe briefing – the new post-Brexit UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, embarked on a cabinet reshuffle. As it turned out this was no simple parlour shuffle, but a full-on single-hand pharaoh shuffle. As heads rolled and others moved in, while still others moved around, unnamed sources told The Telegraph that the Department for Transport (DfT) was being shut down. At the time, it looked like the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Energy and Climate Change were also being axed to make way for more streamlined departments for Industry and Infrastructure.