“NBRA calls on the Scottish Government to provide clarity on the retail grant scheme and allow all body repair shops to access the relief”, said Chris Weeks, Director of the National Body Repair Association (NBRA), which represents vehicle body repair shops in the UK.
NBRA has written to Ben Macpherson MSP, Scotland’s Minister for Public Finance and Migration to seek clarity on the Scottish Government’s view of the eligibility of bodyshops for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grant scheme (RHLBGS) and the 100% Non-Domestic Rates holiday for retail.
The cut-off date to apply for the RHLGS closed on the 10 July, however NBRA members in Scotland report having an inconsistent experience with accessing support from local authorities. Whilst some are able to access government funds earmarked for retailers, bodyshops in other local authorities are being rejected.
Although garages were among the retailers permitted to remain open during the lockdown, a massive decline in motor vehicle use and the subsequent decrease in demand for body repair services meant that the majority of bodyshops closed throughout lockdown.
Accessing retail grants and relief will be vital to ensuring the viability of bodyshops as lockdown begins to ease.
Chris Weeks continued, “The work that bodyshops do in keeping vehicles in a roadworthy condition is crucial to keeping Scotland’s roads safe. Ensuring these businesses remain viable through the COVID-19 crisis is therefore essential.
“We have been advising NBRA members facing rejections for government financial relief to continue to appeal to their local authorities. Now that the deadline to apply for financial relief has closed, car body repair shops in Scotland are now relying on the appeals process to ensure they can sustain their businesses whilst motor vehicle use remains low.
“Local authorities across Scotland must apply this relief evenly and consistently to ensure a fair business recovery”.
About the RMI
The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.