“Secure the future of the industry” next government challenged

“Secure the future of the industry”. This is the call from National Body Repair Association (NBRA) ahead of the general elections on 4 July.

The body, which represents vehicle repair businesses, calls on whichever party becomes the next government to not overlook the aftermarket and prioritise “critical” reforms.

“The next government needs to recognise the importance of supporting the vehicle repair sector,” said Martyn Rowley, NBRA boss. “Addressing the skills shortage, standardising BEV repair protocols, and reducing business rates will secure a sustainable future for our industry and the communities we serve.”

Picking out a few key pillars that needed assistance, Rowley noted that getting apprentices into work should be prioritised, especially given the sector’s current skills shortage.

“The current Apprenticeship Levy is failing our industry, hindering rather than fostering apprenticeship opportunities,” he said.

“Simplifying access to levy funds and removing barriers that discourage apprenticeship uptake is crucial. Additionally, recent changes to Skilled Worker Visa rules threaten to exacerbate our industry’s workforce challenges. Adjustments are needed to ensure our members can continue to access overseas skills.”

Electric cars was, of course, another avenue he noted.

“The transition to Battery Electric Vehicles presents significant safety and operational challenges,” he said.

“Mandating standardised rescue and recovery protocols is essential to ensure the safety of first responders and minimise risks associated with BEV repairs.”

Furthermore, he added that high business rates, currently at their highest-ever levels, “pose a significant burden for vehicle repairers and reducing these rates is necessary to ease financial pressures and maintain essential services for motorists”.

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