National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) chief exec Sue Robinson has issued an urgent plea to Chancellor Rishi Sunak to step up the Government’s support for automotive retailers ahead of the 3 March Budget.
“We urge the Government to redeploy its most effective business support measures as automotive retailers begin to recover from the disruption due to the pandemic”, said Robinson, following the NFDA’s pre-Budget submission asking for measures to help businesses recover as well as to assist with their transition to zero-emission vehicles.
In short, the NFDA is asking for a business rates holiday, an extension of the furlough scheme and an underpinning of the switch to EVs.
Business rates, furlough, EV transition
Sue Robinson says that the business rates holiday has been a lifeline for retailers, particularly vehicle retailers. She asks for: “A six-month extension of the full business rates holiday from April 2021 is necessary to support businesses over the coming months”.
In terms of the furlough, research shows that almost all motor retailers took advantage of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Now the NFDA is seeking for it to be extended not only through 2021 but into 2022. Sue Robinson said: “Extending the scheme will give retailers confidence to retain their staff and draw up more optimistic recruitment plans for the year ahead”.
The NFDA is also suggesting the introduction of an EV Infrastructure Investment Allowance to incentivise retailers to accelerate their plans to install an electric chargepoint infrastructure.
Sue Robinson said: “Huge levels of investments will be required by retailers to meet the UK Government’s ambition to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030. The Plug-In Vehicle Grants should be maintained this year to ensure that the strong growth the EV market saw in 2020 is sustained in 2021”.
The NFDA has pledged to liaise with relevant Government departments in the lead-up to the Budget.