The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders today welcomed the Chancellor's Pre-Budget statement which set out the government's commitment to the motor industry in the UK. Christopher Macgowan SMMT chief executive commented, 'We are pleased that the Chancellor has provided greater incentives to buy cleaner fuels with cuts in Ultra Low Sulphur Fuels, which will take effect in 2001. In offering a discount to business users of Euro 4 compliant vehicles, the Chancellor now recognises the advances made in diesel technology.

'Commercial vehicle manufacturers will tonight be pleased to learn about the proposed cuts to Vehicle Excise Duty, and the announcement of measures to encourage the removal of older, more polluting trucks from the fleet. However, these benefits will also be balanced against the cost of the Britdisc vignette announced to the House this afternoon. We will have to wait and see what the detailed statements reveal.

'Looking at the new proposals for Vehicle Excise Duty and the £55 discount to be extended to all sub-1500 cc cars, it is disappointing that the Chancellor has chosen to tinker with the existing car fleet, rather than encourage motorists to buy the cleanest cars.'