Spring Statement 2022 Preview


Few Chancellors in history have ever had bigger backdrops to their Budgets than Rishi Sunak has had during his two years in the role. Just days after he delivered his first Budget statement, on 11th March 2020, the country entered the first of its lockdowns due to the Covid pandemic. Then, later that same year, came the UK’s full departure from the European Union. And now, with his latest Spring Budget under a week away, there is a terrible war being waged on European soil, in Ukraine.

These events have made Sunak’s Budgets larger than he perhaps intended. Indeed, next week’s Spring Statement, which is being delivered on Wednesday 23rd March, was originally billed as a “forecast statement” – a chance for us all to hear the latest economic and fiscal forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), and little else. But now it appears as though it will be something more than that, with action on everything from defence spending to the cost of living.

Growth forecasts

So far as fleets are concerned – and businesses in general – those OBR forecasts will still be worth paying attention to. In their last set of forecasts, delivered alongside the Autumn Budget in October, they anticipated that the UK economy would be growing by a pretty buoyant 6% this year, while the main measure of inflation would rise by 4%. But will those figures now have worsened, with lower growth and higher inflation, due to the geopolitical situation? Because, after all, these aren’t just numbers: they are the economic environment in which we’re all operating.

Fuel costs

As for more specific policies, it’s likely that Sunak will do something about fuel costs – which, with petrol currently around 160p a litre and diesel at 169p, are at record highs. But what will that something be? For over a decade now, successive Chancellors have frozen the main rate of Fuel Duty at 57.95p a litre, but, while that freeze is better than a rise, it won’t do much to help motorists filling up at the pumps in early 2022. Perhaps a genuine cut is on the way?

Other fuel related measures

Or perhaps the Chancellor will consider other fuel-related measures. There are already suggestions, for example, that he might increase the mileage allowance from its current 45p – meaning that employees will enjoy tax relief on more of their business miles.

Road pricing

Then, of course, there’s the big one. For some time now, the Government has hinted that it may look to move beyond Fuel Duty entirely, in order to recoup the revenues that will be lost as more and more people climb into electric vehicles. Indeed, last summer, a spokesperson said that “we will set out our further plans [in this policy area] in due course”. It had even been speculated that Road Pricing – i.e. charging people for using roads – might become the new basis for motoring taxation.

Yet we haven’t heard anything about those “plans” since. In a way, any caution on the Government’s is understandable: moving away from Fuel Duty would be a historic change. But it’s also true that, with fuel prices rocketing, now might be the time to look at alternative forms of taxation. It will be worth listening out for the announcement of a review or consultation, at the very least, next week.

Company Car Tax

Outside of fuel, we’re still waiting on various other announcements from the Chancellor – from the rates of Company Car Tax (CCT) for 2025-26 to the outcomes of various consultations into Vehicle Excise Duty (VED). Will we hear these next Wednesday? We can say that LeasePlan will be listening out, and we’ll publish our own analysis here and on our other channels soon after Sunak’s speech. Please do check back in then.

In the meantime, reset your expectations: once again, Rishi Sunak is going to have to deliver something bigger than he – and we – might have previously anticipated.

Find out more

Find out more about the announcements on the day with coverage, a guide to the Budget and tune in to our Fleet Navigator podcast.



Matthew Walters

Matthew Walters

Matthew Walters is Head of Consultancy Services and Customer Value at LeasePlan UK, and has been with LeasePlan for over 14 years.


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