The fleet and leasing industry reacted with mixed emotions to the Chancellor’s Spring Statement in March.

While the decision to cut fuel duty by 5p per litre was broadly welcomed, it was felt that more could have been done to help the fleet and leasing sector, which has been severely hit by rising prices in recent years.

The chair of the Association of Fleet Professionals, Paul Hollick, said: “The Spring Statement really does serve as a point of focus for the rising costs that all fleets are currently facing, especially given poorer growth and inflation forecasts. Literally every part of the cost equation that goes into operating cars and vans are facing substantial rises.”

“While the Chancellor has taken some actions that will serve to offer some mitigation, such as the reduction in fuel duty, none of these will really alter the overall direction of travel. The AFP view, in general, is that businesses should look to proactively manage their way through this situation and, for many, that will ultimately mean speeding up EV adoption, accessing permanently lower fuel and overall running costs.”

Meanwhile, Philip Nothard, Insight and Strategy Director at Cox Automotive, said: “We would have welcomed bigger cuts too, as the automotive industry has faced extremely challenging conditions during the last 12 months with the well-documented supply issues affecting new car production."

Cox Automotive pointed to the example of the Irish government, which earlier in March confirmed that excise duty on fuel in Ireland would be reduced by 20 cents per litre on petrol and 15 cents per litre on diesel. If replicated in the UK this would have reduced the cost of a 60-litre tank of petrol by £10 and diesel by £7.50.

Several other organisations felt that more could have been done to support fleets in transitioning to EV, which petrol and diesel inflation only serves to highlight.