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Industry bodies react to recent government action

By autotech-nath on October 13, 2022

Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) chief executive Mark Field has said that energy support packages and tax cuts will mean nothing to independent aftermarket businesses –unless sector specific legislation, such as the current MOT frequency and motor vehicle block exemption regulations (MVBER), are maintained and strengthened.

The Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng unveiled a massive fiscal shake-up in the recent mini budget – scrapping the additional tax rate, cancelling the rise in corporation tax, and reversing the recently introduced rise in National Insurance. These measures followed the Government’s Energy Bill Relief Scheme which sets the wholesale cost of energy for businesses.

To ensure effective competition remains possible for the UK automotive aftermarket, Field is keen to see the aftermarket sector receive wider support and recognition in the legislative agenda. He said: “Any plans to extend the current MOT test frequency or failure to uphold Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulations (MVBER) and update vehicle type approval regulations will render any business support packages worthless in the independent aftermarket.

“In a post-Brexit era, our lobbying in support of aftermarket businesses has intensified and part of this is to remind government that during the Covid-19 pandemic, the sector was allowed to stay open and played a critical role in keeping vehicles roadworthy. The aftermarket is a leader in the supply of mobility services, offering affordability and choice to millions of motorists for the service and maintenance of their vehicle. Through our work with UK AFCAR, we are collectively raising awareness of the sector ensuring that we are rightly considered across legislative and business policy making.”

Following the announcement of the government’s Energy Bill Relief Scheme, the Independent Garage Association (IGA) is warning that additional support will be needed to help independent garage businesses survive the ongoing energy price crisis and protect UK road safety. The scheme will fix wholesale energy prices for businesses at £211 per MWh for electricity and £75 per MWh for gas, initially for six months between 1 October 2022 and 31 March 2023.

Stuart James comments: “We are pleased that the government has finally introduced support for businesses to help them with the extortionate cost of energy, following our communications with Chancellor and Secretary of State. However, small businesses like garages will need help far beyond the next six months to keep their doors open, protect jobs and help prevent accidents on our roads.

“Independent garages provide vital, affordable services that keep the UK’s vehicles roadworthy and roads safe, however we are already seeing reports that motorists are avoiding MOTs and car repairs to save money amidst the rising cost of living. If garages are forced to raise their prices significantly to cover their energy costs in the near future, this could seriously impact road safety throughout the UK.”

A false economy

The bi-annual MOT proposal will not alleviate the rising cost of car ownership, warns Intelligent Motoring, as delaying repairs will double already rapidly rising costs. As a new RAC survey rears fresh consumer concerns about Government’s plans to change the compulsory MOT from every year to every two years, Intelligent Motoring highlights the rising cost of vehicle repairs and says that short-term financial gains from delaying an MOT by twelve months will have long term financial implications, as well as significant road-safety consequences.

Duncan McClure Fisher comments, “Delaying repairs to vehicles for short-term financial gain is not an answer. Our analysis
of service, repair and maintenance claims confirms that the costs are rising and this is likely to continue. A small fault today already costs a third more to rectify than it did this time last year. Leave this small fault to develop another 18-24 months and the cost implications could be significant, let alone the safety risk it could pose to the driver, their passengers and other road users.”

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