As I look back on my first 12 months as Managing Director at LeasePlan UK, it has certainly been a busy one, with Brexit in the forefront throughout.
In March, there was the two-year anniversary of the invoking of Article 50, but the year saw two missed deadlines for leaving the EU – followed by an election that was thought to be hard to call but delivered a significant majority for the Conservatives. There was also a Spring Statement that was light on policy, which was meant to be followed by a full Budget in the Autumn. However, this was delayed for a ‘post-Brexit’ Budget that’s due in February next year.
The year also saw some important milestones for drivers and fleets, with new accounting standard IFRS 16 starting on New Year’s Day and London’s ULEZ launching in April. The rule clarifications for OpRA also came into effect in April and were followed in July by the latest draft finance bill where we finally received clarity on Company Car Tax rates (CCT).
In a year where companies had to deal with new emissions testing regime WLTP and RDE, it’s perhaps not surprising that one of the key themes for fleet was electric vehicles. We’ve seen great progress in the journey of the EV this year. The number of vehicles on the road across the UK continues to grow, alongside an increase in confidence around the place for alternative fuels in the future fleet. LeasePlan’s 2019 Mobility Monitor, published in October this year, showed that public understanding of the benefits of electric driving is growing, especially those related to the environment.
Company employees are now pushing for greater choice and flexibility when it comes to work and travel, with many opting for alternative fuels and more agile ways of working to reduce costs and business mileage.
Another trend that has gathered pace in 2019 is the move towards increased digitalisation, which is something that LeasePlan encourages. We believe that better data can support safety, sustainability and compliance across a company’s fleet and we hope that 2020 will see many more companies integrating fleet software into their management processes.
On a final note, 2019 was also a great year for LeasePlan, as we celebrated our 40th birthday in the UK and were named ‘Leasing Company of the Year’ by several prestigious awards, including WhatVan?, GreenFleet and Commercial Fleet.
While it may be too much to hope that Brexit is resolved next year, we are keeping our fingers crossed for more clarity in the coming months that allows companies and their fleets to get on with what they do best.
Wishing you all the best as we enter a brand new year, and a new decade, here’s to a happy, healthy and successful 2020!