The BVRLA has warned that failure to support the fleet sector with a fair and consistent tax regime could threaten the UK government’s attempt to decarbonise road transport.

The industry body statement came in response to the HM Treasury’s review of WLTP and vehicle taxes.

The association used its submission to the government to remind policy makers of the role the company car and vehicle rental fleet has played in both buying new ultra-low emission vehicles and reselling them into the used market.

The BVRLA cautioned that recent hikes in company car taxes, when combined with WLTP-related uncertainty and a lack of visibility on future rates beyond 2021, had already led to more employers and employees opting out of the market.

The BVRLA pointed to statistics showing that the average rental car emits 26% less CO² than the average car on the road, but WLTP-based Vehicle Excise Duty will lead to rental operators facing an increase of £28m in their combined 2020/21 tax bill.

BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said: “Our members buy nearly 1.6 million cars each year and are responsible for most ultra-low emission vehicle registrations.

“Most policymakers recognise the vital part that these fleets will play in delivering the government’s flagship Road to Zero and Industrial Strategy. We need HM Treasury to acknowledge and support the fleet sector’s role by providing a fair, consistent and well-signposted tax regime.

“WLTP is designed to offer motorists greater transparency. It should not be used as an excuse to boost Treasury coffers. Without making the necessary WLTP-related vehicle tax adjustments, the Chancellor will be simply abusing his position by opportunistically raising taxes and punishing already hard-pressed families and businesses.”

The BVRLA is urging industry colleagues to respond to the consultation, which closes on 17 February. Responding to the government’s ‘Road To Zero’ strategy, the BVRLA and its members launched the ‘Plug-in-pledge‘, outlining ambitions to see its members’ combined plug-in vehicle fleet size surge from 50,000 today to 720,000 by 2025.