Research by consultancy Watson Wyatt finds that 56.9 percent of UK companies offer a car/cash alternative, according to Compensation & Benefits
. Additional findings include:23.8 percent provide cars without the option of cash instead15.2 percent offer a cash allowance onlyfour percent reimburse expenses for professional use of an employee’s private vehicleIn southern European countries such as Belgium, Greece, Italy and Portugal, more than 80 percent provide company cars onlyIn Latvia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Croatia, more than 90 percent provide cars onlyWatson Wyatt senior consultant Anne Severeyns attributes the north-south divide to local tax benefits of providing cash alternatives to company cars in northern countries. She also notes that having a company car is seen as more of a status symbol in southern and eastern countries. Severeyns says that while UK companies face rising fuel costs and concerns over carbon dioxide emissions, private use policies are more generous than last year and nearly 75 percent of companies intend to absorb the incremental costs if oil prices remain constant or increase in the next six months.