Car plates to drive £1bn Treasury boost

Forrester: 'Showrooms are cool'. Picture: Contributed
Forrester: 'Showrooms are cool'. Picture: Contributed
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CHANCELLOR George Osborne will receive a £1 billion boost to his Treasury’s coffers following the release next weekend of the “63” car registration plates, according to a senior industry figure.

Robert Forrester, chief executive at Aim-quoted Vertu, which trades as Macklin Motors north of the Border and has 90 sales outlets across Britain, said car registrations next month are likely to hit 380,000, up from 359,000 a year ago.

Thanks to windfalls from vehicle excise duty (VED) and VAT on new car sales, the Chancellor could end up pocketing an extra £6bn in total this year.

Forrester said: “This September it is not just motor retailers who will be experiencing a bumper month.

“The UK government will be a winner on 1 September and, by the end of the month, George Osborne will have received nearly £1bn to help him pay down the deficit. It is having its best motoring windfall in years.”

Forrester added: “For the entire year, you can hazard a guess that the Chancellor will receive nearly £6bn from VAT and VED on new car sales. Put another way – the revenue generated from new car sales is more than the budget of the Department of Energy & Climate Change.”

This month, the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders raised its forecast for 2013 new car registrations, predicting sales will reach 2.2 million units, 8.4 per cent ahead of 2012, though still shy of pre-recession peaks. Interim chief executive Mike Baunton said: “Recently, we’ve seen a range of economic indicators point to improving conditions and our raised sales forecast emphasises how positively we view the rest of 2013.”

A strong performance across the private, fleet and business markets saw July registrations growing 12.8 per cent to 162,228 units across the UK, with Scottish sales up by more than 10 per cent to 13,253.

Forrester put the rise in sales down to a combination of low interest rates, “fantastic products” and dealerships that have been “transformed in the past ten years”. “Showrooms are cool places to be,” he added. “The products are the best they have ever been. Products such as Dacia and Suzuki have resulted in the real-term cost of entry-level cars coming down.”