Does the Autumn Spending Review affect Classic Cars?

Heritage takes a look at the issues raised in the Autumn Spending Review 2015.

Over the past few years classic car owners have had a bit of a hard time, whether that’s because of the threat of low-emission zones in major cities or being asked by the DVLA to prove the originality of their vehicles. We wonder what’s going to be next after the recent Autumn Spending Review and whether the recent Volkswagen Scandal or ‘dieselgate’ affect classic car owners.

Local councils to look after our roads

It can sometimes feel as though the nation’s roads truly put your car’s suspension and your driving skills to the test but hopefully this could be changing.

The Government will be taking a back seat, and allowing the local council more power when it comes to tackling speed limits, road safety and surfacing issues; which would make sense as you’d expect local councils to be more aware of the state of local roads and safety issues than people who may have never visited the area.

Whilst local councils will be left to make their own decisions about local roads, the government will be backing innovative and new ideas to tackle problems with road surfacing and potholes. Councils will be allowed to adopt 20mph speed limits where they feel it’s necessary to do so.

Plans to raise the national speed limit to 80mph on motorways?

Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed a ‘permanent’ £250million pothole fund, and that more than £5billion will be spent on road maintenance during this parliament. We’ll have to wait and see what affect this will have on our local roads, and whether this truly will go some way to eliminate the blight that is potholes, but it seems to be a step in the right direction.

No more whiplash, means cheaper insurance

We’ve all seen the adverts ‘where there’s blame there’s a claim’ and it does seem as though in the last 10-20 years there has been a rise in this culture where we claim compensation for minor motor injuries. Insurance provider Aviva, states that 80 per cent of all personal injury claims from a motor accidents are for minor whiplash-type injuries. That compares to just three per cent in France.

Does the Autumn Spending Review affect Classic CarsEarlier this year, AA research discovered 11 per cent of motorists said they would make an injury claim following a collision caused by someone else, even if they were perfectly fit and well.

To try to tackle this issue, Chancellor George Osborne announced that cash payments for minor whiplash claims will be banned under new plans to end ‘dodgy’ claims that cost insurers (and customers) £1billion per year.

In future, claimants who are suffering from whiplash after minor car accidents, will instead be offered physiotherapy and treatment by insurers. Which should save customers £40-£50 on their car insurance annual premiums.

Axa’s UK boss Paul Evans says that “We’re trying to stop the guys who get a little tap in the car and go out and buy a flat screen TV with the £3,500 they think they can get because they’ve seen an advert that says they can get free compensation for what has been [an incident] with no injury. A lot of it goes straight to lawyers and it is a merry-go-round that we have been trying to stop for a long time. Those claims will now go away completely. If you are in a situation where you have a serious injury, that will still require compensation,” he said.

The insurance industry has promised that customers would benefit from money saved from fraudulent claims.

“Our customers have for too long paid the price for a dysfunctional system that does not operate in their interests,” said RSA’s UK chief Steve Lewis. “These measures will go a long way to ensure that access to justice and care is maintained whilst reducing premiums. We remain committed to passing on any savings to our customers.”

Aviva CEO Mark Wilson said: ‘We welcome this bold and necessary step by the Government on behalf of honest people – it is all about standing up for the consumer against the fraudsters.

‘The Government is putting the brakes on the whiplash gravy train. It is great news for consumers.

‘Sadly, law abiding motor customers have paid for the UK’s dysfunctional and fraudulent motor claims system through inflated motor premiums. Fraud is not a victimless crime.

“Let me be clear, Aviva will pass on 100% of the savings from this Government initiative to our customers, reducing customers’ average premiums by around £40-£50 when it is implemented.’

Maurice Tulloch, CEO of Aviva’s UK General Insurance business, said the new initiative should ‘also turn down the volume of nuisance calls and texts, fuelled by some unscrupulous claims management companies.’

Scrappage Scheme and Emmission Zones

Just a few weeks prior to the Autumn Spending Review, there were murmurs of the scrappage scheme rearing its ugly head. With chair of the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), Huw Irranca Davies saying that ‘Introducing a national diesel scrappage scheme could provide a short-cut to cleaning up the air in our cities’ however many believe that this is simply a short term measure and the long term benefits and costs have not been thoroughly thought through.

The previous scrappage scheme was introduced in 2009 and encouraged consumers to swap their car for a more fuel efficient diesel, with the aim of reducing the UKs CO2 levels (diesel produces less CO2 than petrol). However, new research shows that diesel produces more NO2 than petrol cars, and this is actually more harmful for humans; and is why VW got in so much trouble with their emissions scandal which you can read more about here. Labour has since admitted that their scrappage scheme did not weigh up all the pros and cons and was simply focused on lowering the UKs CO2 levels.Does the Autumn Spending Review affect Classic Cars

One thing the scrappage scheme did to was breath live into the UK car market with sales increasing as more people replaced their old cars. However, we know that a number of classic cars and Land Rovers were destroyed, many of which could have gone to a more loving home.

The EAC also wanted the Government to introduce ‘Clean-Air Zones’ which would mean councils would have the power to ban or limit the number of diesel cars going through their cities. However some MPs were concerned that central government were putting more responsibility on local councils at a time when their budgets are extremely tight.

Huw Irranca Davies, was also pushing for the road tax tariffs to be in favour of new electric and hybrid vehicles rather than alternative fuels such as LPG or Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

Many from the classic car community waited for the result with bated breath to hear whether the scrappage scheme would bereintroduced, however it looks as though we aren’t in any imminent danger of it returning as there was no mention of this during the Autumn Spending Review.

Regarding the reduction of air pollution? Well, as we know London will see the introduction of Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) in 2020, which will mean that all cars, motorcycles and heavy goods vehicles (including buses and coaches) will need to meet the ULEZ emission standards or pay an additional charge when travelling in central London.

The ULEZ will cover the same area as the current Congestion Charge, and will operate 24hrs a day, 7 days a week.

Diesel car owners are most likely to be affected by these charges, as it’s unlikely that many will meet the ULEZ emissions standards which include lowering the lev els of NO2.

Currently this ULEZ is only planned to be in force in central London, but six other UK cities are on the list as places that will most likely fail the European Commission’s emissions standards without further improvements. So we’ll have to wait and see whether these ‘Clean-Air Zones’ or another version of London’s ULEZ will be in force in other cities around the UK.

Funding for apprenticeships

According to The Commons Education Committee since 2010 the number of 16-19 year olds taking up apprenticeships has fallen by 10,000. This could have been for a number of reasons, whether it’s the school system pushing young people to attend university rather than apply for an apprenticeship or because companies no longer feel the need or desire to invest in apprentices. Either way, this shortfall in training and encouraging the next generation to join the UK car industry was sure to mean trouble not only for the UK economy (with the car industry worth millions) but also the classic car community.

We all know the skill and knowledge need to keep any classic car on the road, whether you yourself put the work in How does the Autumn Spending Review affect Classic Cars?or use your trusted local garage. If the next generation aren’t trained in the craftsmanship that is needed in the specialist classic car industry, what would become of the classic car community?

Thankfully, the Government have shown willing and an understanding of this problem. In last week’s Autumn Spending Review Chancellor George Obsorne stated that the Conservative government would be introducing and Apprenticeship levy. This would mean companies with a wage bill of over £3 million per year are to be charged a levy of 0.5% (estimated to be £2 billion per year) which will then be invested and used to fund apprenticeships. This would mean that from April 2017, small and medium garages will be able to draw down from this fund and look at introducing apprenticeship schemes.

As Osborne stated ‘It’s a huge reform to raise the skills of the nation and address one of the enduring weaknesses of the British economy’.

We think it’s fantastic to see that the Government are willing to help and understand how important it is to encourage and train a new generation of classic car specialists.

So, does the Autumn Spending Review affect classic cars? Well I’m sure you’ll agree that for now things are looking pretty good, with no scrappage scheme and more funding for apprenticeships – we can’t help feel that ‘dieselgate’ isn’t quite over yet.