Unity Schools Partnership appoints Fleet Alliance to deliver salary sacrifice electric car scheme

Unity Schools Partnership appoints Fleet Alliance to deliver salary sacrifice electric car scheme

Posted by

Charlie Strand

May 2024

The Unity Schools Partnership, a multi-academy trust with charitable status across three counties, has appointed fleet management and leasing specialist, Fleet Alliance, to offer salary sacrifice electric cars to qualifying members of staff.

Formed in 2010, some 35 educational establishments – academies and secondary, primary and special schools – now come under the auspices of the Unity Schools Partnership. The heaviest concentration is in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, plus a smaller number in Cambridgeshire and the London Borough of Havering, with around 2,800 members of staff in total.

Almost all are eligible to lease an electric car through the Fleet Alliance salary sacrifice scheme provided they have passed their probationary period, are over 21 and the salary sacrifice deduction does not take their revised gross pay below the minimum living wage.

Sarah Garner, Deputy CEO and Director of Finance, said the new scheme was intended to offer a wide choice of electric cars at attractive rates via salary sacrifice to all qualifying members of staff at each educational establishment in the Partnership.

“We see this as a valuable retention and recruitment tool that has been very well received to date amongst staff members.

“One of our legal obligations as a multi-academy trust is to report on environmental initiatives through the Streamlining Energy and Carbon Reduction (SECR) report. And offering electric cars through salary sacrifice is one of our carbon-reduction measures under its terms,” she said.

Sarah was full of praise for the pro-active role Fleet Alliance account managers had played in initiating the scheme and ensuring its smooth operation.

“They have been great in marketing the benefits of the scheme to members of staff, and attending live events so that we can openly discuss the scheme and address some of the myth-busting issues that exist around electric cars.

“For example, they will be taking a stand at our forthcoming Unity Day for staff development as well as bringing along vehicles for staff to view.

“We have also been very impressed by the range of electric cars that they have been able to make available through the scheme, with no restrictions and nothing off the table.”

“No-one who has taken an electric car through the scheme has regretted it and there have been some very positive comments on our internal intranet,” she added.

The Fleet Alliance salary sacrifice electric car scheme has become increasingly popular with organisations and businesses looking to take advantage of the tax and cost savings available, while underlining their green credentials.

A major factor has been the low rates of Benefit-in-Kind (BIK) taxation with the prevailing rate of 2% to the end of the 2024/25 tax year making electric cars highly tax-efficient.

At the same time, the zero carbon emissions generated by electric cars are effective in helping organisations meet their environmental, social and governance (ESG) targets and deliver their own net zero carbon plans.

Salary sacrifice produces savings in Income Tax, National Insurance Contributions and VAT for a fully maintained and insured car, in return for a small monthly BIK payment.

Fleet Alliance CEO, Andy Bruce, said Unity had been able to take advantage of a number of key benefits associated with the salary sacrifice car scheme.

“With the very low rate of BIK on electric cars currently and rising to 5% in April 2028, it is well below that of petrol and diesel cars. This makes electric cars very attractive from a tax and cost perspective, and opens them up to wider numbers of employees at very advantageous rates.

“There are savings of up to 60% on vehicles supplied through a salary sacrifice scheme and, we believe, the 4% reduction in National Insurance rates announced by Government in two stages recently is having little or no impact on the effectiveness of these schemes “

Andy continued: “In our opinion, there has never been a better a time for organisations who want to provide a wider range of benefits for their members of staff to take advantage of the salary sacrifice benefits that exist on electric cars.  Our forward order banks certainly prove that this is the case.”

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