No, it’s not the end of the company car driver as we know it

No, it’s not the end of the company car driver as we know it

Posted by

Martin Brown

June 2019

Statistics. They’re a thing, aren’t they?

Important. Yes, undoubtedly – they are vital for how we measure the things around us.

But the thing with statistics, it’s how you present them. How you tell the story you want to tell with the supporting statistics.

So, I might be going against the grain of popular media headlines here, but I don’t believe the company car driver is in decline.

Bear with me.

HMRC has just released its Benefit in Kind statistics for June 2019. These chronicle the changes in benefit in kind recorded for the latest years available: these are 2016-17.

The three key benefits in these HMRC stats are private health care; company cars; and fuel.

And the thing is this: despite the current narrative that the company car is in decline in preference for cash alternatives, the actual number of company drivers remains stable: in 2016-17 there were as many company car drivers – 940,000 – as there were in 2012-13. There are slight ups and downs in between but the trend is stable.

However, HMRC has forecast that there is a potential decline in numbers to 890,000 drivers in 2017-18. A drop of 50,000.

Now, given the stable trend we’ve had to date, this is significant. Except the way the statistics are recorded has changed thanks to the increase in payrolling. Which means what you see is not entirely what you get.

So, instead of sending a P11D with company car details at the end of the year, employers are preferring to deduct the tax due on those benefits in kind directly from payroll.

This is something the HMRC acknowledges, suggesting that the forecast decline in numbers is due entirely to this:

“Initial HMRC analysis suggests that this accounts for a significant proportion of the decline in reported numbers,” says HMRC in its explanatory paragraph.

So when you see headlines about a dramatic decline in numbers give yourself a reality check. Am I really seeing it? Or is it a narrative that suits a 2+2 = 5 form of reasoning?

For our part, we see no decline in our fleet numbers. In fact, we’re seeing the opposite. The number of cars Fleet Alliance now manages is 37,000 – that’s a fleet now worth £1bn.

Decline: what decline?

It’s all down to the statistics I’d say.


You also might like…

If you liked this article then check out our posts about similar topics

Sustainability is already the star of the Tokyo Olympics

The Olympics, that fabulous cauldron of national contests every four years, has had a bumpy ride up to its Official Open...

Decarbonisation, greenprints and green deals

It appears yesterday was the day marked ‘Decarbonisation Day’ Governments both here and the EU made far-reaching and...

We’re going for a deep clean on our journey to sustainability

We’ve made a start on sustainability But, hey, has it thrown up some difficult questions Questions that we did not env...

The benefits of switching your fleet to panel funding

Rather than rely on single-source funding for reducing fleet administration, there are significant benefits from choosin...

The 12 million vehicle EV pivot

Twelve million globally That will be the number of electric vehicles on the road in June 2021 Which sounds like a lot of...

Release the value in your fleet

Coronavirus: it may not exactly be on the run yet, but a rapid vaccine roll out has turned the UK around, from being a p...

The car as vacuum cleaner

Imagine this: you drive a zero emission car, so you’ve eradicated local pollution issues Good All positive Then ...

Shanghai Motor Show glows green

Tesla has a certain knack of creating headlines Fair play But on this occasion, the Elon Musk run electric car maker fou...

Ready to make the management of your fleet more efficient?

Request a call back


Or Call Us On: 0345 601 8407
Schedule a call back
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.