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Budget’s Alternative Fuel Funding Promises will Help to Ease SME Anxiety, says AA

“Today’s Budget announcements are positive news overall for the UK’s fleets, with plans confirmed to allocate £400 million for the fitting of electric car charging points, £100 million to boost the sales of clean cars and £40million in charging research and development.

“This funding will go some way towards driving electrification, which 63% of businesses expect to embrace within five years, according to the second annual Operational Fleet Insight report, produced by the AA and BT’s Fleet Solutions. Indeed, 82% of AA members say they have been deterred from purchasing an electric vehicle by the lack of charging points nationwide, so a rapid acceleration in infrastructure roll-out is to be welcomed.

“However, we believe there is still a long way to go to reassure fleets that the route to an alternatively fuelled future will be a smooth one. As the UK adopts new technologies, small businesses are increasingly worried that manufacturers aren’t treating them as a priority when it comes to forward planning and sharing best practice advice.

“Indeed, SMEs are coming under increasing financial pressure to green their fleets, but need both carrots and sticks to do so. Businesses operating in central London have seen their costs to drive into the capital almost double following the introduction of the T-charge last month. The UK’s other major cities are likely to follow suit in introducing emissions fines in the near future.

“Fleet managers are positively investigating alternative fuel sources, but our research shows they don’t feel they have enough information to take a strategic step forward. A number of industry roadmaps exist which plot the UK’s journey towards a low-carbon future but which are heavily jargoned and not easily understood by the SME sector.

“We urge the government to collaborate with industry to produce a simplified, business-oriented roadmap to help the UK’s SMEs to take an informed step forward and make the most of the upcoming EV revolution.”

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