Spring Budget at a glance

Chancellor Philip Hammond has pledged £270m support for electric vehicles, biotech and artificial intelligence in his Spring Budget – but the Discount Rate cut stands.

He said the investment will help ‘to keep the UK at the forefront of disruptive technologies like biotech, robotic systems and driverless vehicles.’

In addition, vehicle excise duty rates for hauliers and the HGV Road User Levy have both been frozen for another year.

Charlie Elphicke MP, chair of the Fair Fuel APPG for Motorists and Hauliers, said, ‘The continued fuel duty freeze is welcome news for the hard-working classes of modern Britain. I’m delighted the Chancellor listened to the concerns of drivers and FairFuelUK supporters.’

The Spring Budget also confirmed the recent announcement to cut the discount rate from 2.5% to -0.75%. Insurers had joined forces with other industry leaders to urge a rethink before today’s announcement.

Huw Evans, director general of the Association of British Insurers, said, ‘Today’s budget confirms a massive £6bn hit to the NHS caused by the Lord Chancellor’s decision to cut the personal injury discount rate to -0.75%. This extraordinary bill for taxpayers – bigger than any other in this budget – shows how absurd this avoidable decision was. The OBR has also confirmed today that this will lead to higher inflation for years to come as the effects of such a massive increase in claims costs are felt by customers. This makes it even more urgent that the government deliver a fair deal for consumers and claimants by bringing forward changes to the law this year.’

In addition, Admiral is expected to raise premiums by a further 10% in the coming months, blaming the cut in the Discount Rate and the upcoming rise in Insurance Premium Tax. Its pre-tax profits fell 25% last year.

However, there was good news on the business rates front, with the Chancellor saying that rates for businesses losing small business rate relief would not increase by more than £50 a month in the next year. He also said he was creating a £300m fund for local authorities to offer discretionary relief.

Director of RMI Bodyshops Jason Moseley said, ‘It is positive to see that the Chancellor has pledged to ease the burden on those hardest hit by business rate tax. It was also confirmed that the government would be consulting with business ahead of the next rating review in 2022.

‘We will now be looking at the budget in detail and engage with the Government to ensure that our members can benefit from future measures.’

Meanwhile, the Chancellor was expected to introduce a scrappage scheme for diesel cars as part of a larger strategy to tackle air pollution, but made no mention of it during an hour-long speech.