UK Drivers: Here's What Budget 2014 Means To You

For a little red briefcase, it certainly gets a lot of attention.

Held aloft by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne today, that little red briefcase contained details of what UK motorists can expect over the next few years - and as is typical, the news is mixed.

The sceptical might suggest that the rosier changes are therebecause there's a general election on the way in 2015, and vexing nearly 40 million UK motorists isn't the best way to earn votes.

But running a car is expensive, so we as drivers take what we can get - so here's a quick run-down of Budget 2014 and what it means for UK drivers.

Fuel

Hurrah - fuel duty has been frozen until the 2015 general election. It's the most obvious vote-saving strategy in the 2014 Budget, but it means that a planned 1.6p per litre increase in fuel duty, announced in the Chancellor's 2013 Autumn Statement, is now no longer going ahead.

Vehicle Excise Duty

Often erroneously called road tax, it's more accurately a vehicle tax. And if you own a vehicle in band A, B or C, your yearly bill of zero, 20 or 30 will remain the same. For everyone else, VED has risen in-line with the Retail Price Index, adding 5-10 to your car tax bill from bands D and above.

Apart from Euro 4 or Euro 5-emissions light goods vehicles, that is, where duty is frozen. And after several years of uncertainty in the classic car community with draconian policies touted left, right and centre, there's finally some good news: a 40-year rolling VED exemption has been reinstated, starting April 1, 2014. It'll mean VED is free for any vehicle over 40 years old, each year.

Road funding

We encounter them every day. They're unpleasant, irritating and far too numerous.

No, not Daily Mail readers, but potholes. There's an estimated 3.2 million of them in the UK and the damage they cause to cars costs motorists millions of pounds per year.

Almost certainly more than the 200 million the Chancellor is putting aside for local councils to bid on, unfortunately. It may help in some places, but don't expect your local road to become billiard table smooth in 2014 or 2015.

Company car tax

Many of our readers drive company cars, rather than vehicles. For them, Budget 2014 won't be overly pleasant.

If you don't own a vehicleproducing less than 75 g/km of CO2 - currently, the only ones that do are plug-in hybrids and electric cars -then you'll pay an extra two percentage points on a vehicle's list price in 2017/2018 and 2018/2019. That's up to a maximum of 37 percent.

Car fuel benefit charge

It's a rise for drivers running a private car on company-funded fuel, too--the BIK multiplier rises fromfrom 21,100 in 2013/14 to 21,700 in 2014/15.

Van benefits and fuel benefits

Run a company van? Van BIK tax increases from3,000 in 2013/14 to 3,090 in 2014/15. The van fuel benefit multiplier has increased too,from 564 to 581.

What does it all mean?

As you'd probably expect, the latest Budget means different things to different drivers.

All drivers will benefit from the frozen fuel duty, though there's little guarantee it'll remain that way after the general election next year. And obviously, changes in the price of oil itself are beyond the Chancellor's control...

The small increases in VED shouldn't put too much of a strain on wallets, and if you own, or intend to buy one of the more efficient vehicles on sale, you'll be completely unaffected. If you own a classic car from the mid seventies then you'll be jumping for joy, as it'll soon be entirely exempt.

We'd like to see more money set aside for potholes though. The UK's road network is woefully under-supported as far as resurfacing and development goes - despite over 21 billion being set aside for a high-speed rail network that relatively small numbers of people will use and will displace whole communities along the route.

Pothole

Bug your local MP to raise this one in parliament before the next elections - we need better roads: smoother roads mean quieter neighbourhoods, shorter stopping distances, lower repair bills, better fuel economy and happier drivers, motorcyclists and cyclists.

We're not sure it'll make company users happier though - whether you drive a car or a van, 2014/2015 and beyond will add even more to your hefty tax bills.

Us? We're off to buy a tax-exempt classic car with nice, soft suspension...

(Main image: Moneyby Flickr user Images Money. Pothole image by Flickr user Alan Stanton. Bothused under Creative Commons license)

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