Policy Update – w/c 20th November 2023

Autumn Budget 2023

On Wednesday 22 November 2023, the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, unveiled his Autumn Statement to the nation with the following measures set to impact the automotive retail sector:

  • Full expensing has been made permanent – companies investing in the UK will reduce their tax by up to 25p for every £1 they spend on machinery.
  • Business rate relief for retail will also be extended; however, the standard rate multiplier will be uprated in line with CPI inflation.
  • The Government is committing £50 million towards a two-year pilot scheme for apprenticeships.
  • National Living Wage is set to rise to £11.44 for those 23 and over from April 2024 and the threshold has been extended to include 21- and 22-year-olds for the first time.

There was no mention of Corporation Tax, which remains at 25%, and also of the fuel duty, which was last frozen in the Spring Budget this year until March 2024.

For more information and for comments from the Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association, Sue Robinson, please refer to this link.

Public Charge Point Regulations 2023

The Public Charge Point Regulations came into force today (24 November 2023) and was introduced to ensure that the experience of consumers using public charge points across the UK is consistent and positive.

The key provisions include:

  • Contactless Payment - requires all new public charge points 8kW and above deployed after 24 November 2024 and all public charge points of 50kW and above to accept payment made at a contactless terminal by 24 November 2024.
  • Pricing Transparency - A charge point operator must ensure that the maximum price of a charging session, including any connection or other fee, is clearly displayed as pence per kilowatt hour (p/kWh) on the public charge point or through a separate device from 24 November 2023. The price of a charging session in p/kWh must not increase once a charging session has commenced.
  • Open Data - Charge point operators must hold all data about their public charge points accurately and in accordance with the data requirement and ensure that all data is opened according to the regulations.
  • Helpline - A charge point operator must provide a free to use, staffed telephone helpline that is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for consumers.
  • Reliability - Charge point operators must ensure they meet the reliability requirement, which requires their public charge points to be available 99% of the time.
  • Payment Roaming - Charge point operators must offer roaming at all their public charge points by connecting to at least one third party roaming provider.
  • Enforcement - The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is part of the Department for Business and Trade and acts on behalf of the Secretary of State to enforce the Public Charge Point Regulations 2023.

For more information, please refer to this link which gives more information and guidance from the Government.

Rules of Origin – Trade and Cooperation Agreement

The Financial Times reported earlier this week that France ‘has signalled that it wants to delay the introduction of tariffs on electric vehicle sales between the UK and EU.’

As per the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, signed during the Brexit negotiations in 2020, the ‘Rules of Origin’ will require 45% of the value of an electric vehicle to have originated in the UK or EU and 60% of the battery pack to remain tariff free. This will come into effect from 1 January 2024 if no extension has been agreed between the UK and EU.

France had previously been opposed to a blanket extension, in contrast to other EU member states such as Germany who have supported a UK request to delay the levy for three years.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Olivier Becht, the French trade minister, indicated that his country wanted to resolve the issue as we approach the deadline.

CMA writes open letter to electric vehicle chargepoint operators and motorway service area site operators

Last Thursday, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) wrote an open letter to electric vehicle chargepoint operators and motorway service area site operators reminding them ‘not to breach competition laws’ when planning new infrastructure.

According to the open letter, ‘helping to accelerate the UK’s transition to a net zero economy is a strategic focus for the CMA’.

The open letter follows a 2023 market study report into road fuel, published by the CMA, in which they found that EV charging will become increasingly important to drivers as petrol and diesel vehicles are phased out.

The report included recommendations such as rolling out the £950 million Rapid Charging Fund at a quicker pace.

This is an interesting development particularly as it appears that the government will not meet its deadline in having at least 6 high-powered, open-access chargepoints (150-350kW capable) at motorway service areas in England by 2023.

In May, RAC analysis reviewed 119 motorway services and found only 23% had the target number of chargers.

For full details of the letter, please refer to the link.

Environment and Climate Change Committee

On Wednesday 22 November, Anthony Browne MP, who was made Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Decarbonisation and Technology at the Department of Transport in the recent Cabinet shuffle and Richard Bruce, Director of Transport Decarbonisation at the Department of Transport, provided oral evidence to a Lords Select Committee regarding electric vehicles.

The Committee discussed various topics including:

  • Concerns over the second-hand car market and the lack of confidence in second hand EVs.
  • Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) funding – which will support local authorities in England to plan and deliver charging infrastructure for residents without off-street parking.
  • Anthony Browne discussed how they would leave the EV charging infrastructure rollout to local authorities rather than make statutory obligations. However, the Government would directly intervene where necessary.
  • The lack of battery recycling facilities.