Aberdeenshire Council offer a range of benefits to their staff, which are critical to attracting and retaining talent in the north of Scotland. With the changes to salary sacrifice announced in the Government’s Autumn Statement and subsequent Finance Bill, it was crucial for the Council to understand the positives of retaining their benefits package, particularly in relation to their car benefit scheme.
For Niall Silvestro, Travel and Benefits Officer, the changes have had little impact on their car benefit scheme, or its continuation at the Council. Having completed extensive research on behalf of the Council, and in conjunction with providers, Tusker, Niall is confident of the benefits it continues to have for their employees, he comments “The clarity the Government have provided with the new legislation is welcomed. The savings are still very clear and are variable depending on the employee’s car choice. Tusker will continue to offer better deals than can be achieved privately and so the HMRC changes coming into effect in April have little impact.”
The Council haven’t seen any impact on the popularity of the scheme following the Autumn Statement, but expect to see Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles become increasingly popular. An advocate for the scheme, he understands that there “are still savings to be made regardless of the legislative changes. The scheme still will save the employee money as there will be savings generated through National Insurance contributions for example. There’ll be savings from having a more fuel efficient vehicle, so the legislation doesn’t really change it in that respect. We’re confident that our employees will still engage with the scheme and we won’t see any detrimental impact on take up rates.”
Tusker, a carbon neutral company, have welcomed the recognition of the impact of emissions on the environment, and Niall is in agreement, “We’re continuing with the scheme and are quite pleased that ULEV cars are further incentivised, as it aligns with our internal policies. We’re quite hopeful about what the future will bring in terms of this scheme and there’ll be an even more pronounced proportion of lower emitting vehicles in our Tusker fleet than there were before.”
Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles are those with emissions under 75g/Km and which still benefit from the maximum savings in terms of income tax and National Insurance. Manufacturers continue to develop more and more vehicles which fit into this category, with over 130 currently on offer through Tusker, and which are becoming more popular with Tusker drivers.
Niall continues to recommend the scheme to his employees, highlighting the benefits that the scheme provides. With 77% of Tusker’s drivers choosing the scheme due to its all-inclusive nature and hassle-free offering, Council employees can still take advantage of this fantastic benefit. Niall agrees “It’s a scheme that we regularly recommend to our employees. We let them know there’s a scheme available and that they’re free to decide what the best option for them is in their personal circumstances.”
Much has been said about the cost of the schemes, with the myth that all cars will become more expensive being perpetuated across much of the media at the moment. Niall has done his homework however and is less concerned about the small increases that some drivers will see. “I think it will be difficult to notice, if I’m honest - and not enough that I think will actually impact on anyone’s decision to go ahead with an agreement. It’s going to be immaterial in terms of the benefit they get access to and what the actual monthly additional cost works out to be.”