Budget 2015: fuel duty freeze and £100m for driverless cars

George Osborne's 2015 Budget delivers more funding for driverless cars and a further freeze for fuel duty

Budget 2016: what it means for motorists

As expected, drivers were well down the list of priorities for Chancellor George Osborne in his last Budget speech before the General Election. However, the fuel duty rise due in September has been cancelled while there was further backing to help the UK become the leader in autonomous vehicle technology with an additional £100m of funding.

In the 2014 Autumn Statement, Osborne announced another fuel duty freeze until May 2015 with an increase due in September. But Osborne has once again cancelled this, claiming that it is the longest duty freeze in 20 years.

Osborne claimed that putting off the duty rise in September means a further saving of ‘£10 a tank,’ though this is dependent on the cost of fuel at your local forecourt.

• Tax disc changes

The Government's speed of response to emerging autonomous vehicle technology has been surprisingly swift, and this has been boosted further by an extra £100m of funding as the Government looks to put the UK at the forefront of the emerging technology.

There was also backing and funding for ‘the internet of things’. In terms of motoring this means connection between your car and other vehicles and infrastructure, putting new car technology at the forefront of transport in the UK. 

• End of the paper driving licence

As we expected the cost of VED (vehicle excise duty) will increase at the rate of the retail price index (RPI) from April 1, though the rise is negligible. And as announced at the 2014 Budget, from April 1 2016 any vehicle manufactured before 1 January 1976 will be exempt from paying VED. 

There was also some good news for company car drivers as the Budget announced that in 2019-20 the rates for ultra-low emission vehicles will increase at a slower rate than previously announced.

Responding to the latest Budget speech, RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “Mr Osborne has clearly taken an opportunity to maintain the truce in the “war on motorists” whilst tying the hands of any new incumbent of No 11. Freezing fuel duty beyond the end of this Parliament is therefore a very shrewd move as it would be extremely unpopular for any future Chancellor to unfreeze it.

“While the Chancellor has cancelled September’s scheduled fuel duty increase we would ideally have liked to see him scrap the duty escalator altogether.”

What do you think the 2015 Budget will hold for motorists? let us know in the comments section below...

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