“We urge the Government to recognise that current plans to increase the tax burdens, combined with the ongoing withdrawal of Covid-19 support measures, will add further pressure on businesses”, said Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle dealers in the UK.
In its Spending Review Submission, NFDA has urged the Government to recognise the impact that the planned tax increases will have on dealers, while also highlighting a number of requests to support businesses as they continue to recover.
- Extending the ‘Expanded Retail Discount’
One of the most welcome forms of financial support offered by the Government during this crisis has been the 12-month business rates holiday for the 2020/21 financial year, and the subsequent Expanded Retail Discount, which is running at 66% until 31 March 2022. The rates holiday has been a lifeline for retailers, particularly vehicle retailers as they are required to make significant investments into their sites and staff training to comply with manufacturer franchise standards.
“A 6-month extension of the Expanded Retail Discount holiday from March 2022 is necessary to support businesses as they complete their recovery”, said Sue Robinson.
- Accelerating the transition to zero emissions: ‘Green Investment Allowance’
Bringing forward the date on which the sale of petrol and diesel cars will end to 2030 will require a huge level of investment by automotive manufacturers and retailers to meet the UK Government’s ambition. For retailers, this will mean accelerating plans to install essential electric chargepoint infrastructure at their sites.
Sue Robinson: “An EV Infrastructure Investment Allowance would provide a clear incentive for retailers to bring forward their chargepoint plans, boosting the number of chargepoints in car retail areas and familiarising motorists with the technology when shopping for their next vehicle”.
- Recruiting apprentices and creating ‘green jobs’
The Government should extend the window in which employers can use unspent levy funds by 18 months, to prevent waste and prioritise the training of our sector’s future workforce. The incentive payments for hiring apprentices that were announced in 2020 are a welcome bonus, however, ensuring that money already set aside for apprentice training is not lost must be the Government’s priority.
Franchised dealers will also play an essential role in hiring the next generation of ‘Green Jobs’ in the automotive sector. In the run up to 2030, NFDA members will continue to invest significantly to train and hire tens of thousands of technicians who will keep electric vehicles on roads across the country. The planned rise in National Insurance would affect significantly small and medium-sized franchised dealer groups as they continue to deal with challenges such as vehicle stock shortage and staff shortages due to Brexit and Covid-19.
“The wide range of technically skilled roles available in the automotive retail makes apprentices a vital source of new talent for the sector. Every effort must be made to support motor retailers looking to rebuild apprenticeship recruitment over the coming years”, Sue Robinson added.
Sue Robinson concluded: “We will continue to engage with Government and would welcome the opportunity to further discuss any of the points raised in our submission”.
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.