Sunday, April 21Serving the aftermarket

Budget 2018 – the aftermarket reacts

The UK budget, delivered on Monday, brought some good news for small businesses, with new business relief rates.

The Chancellor confirmed that the new plans aimed at small retailers, could know a third off bills, with 90% of businesses benefitting from proposals. To qualify as a small retailer, business premises must have a rateable value of £51,000 or less.

“We are delighted the Chancellor is considering small businesses who are the lifeblood of the UK economy,” Stuart James, IGA Director comments.
“This will help garage owners by allowing them to reallocate their budget in a difficult market environment, at a time when the aftermarket is evolving and an increase in investment in tools and equipment is absolutely essential.”
With savings of around £8,000 each year possible until the rate is re-evaluated in 2021, Euro Car Parts CEO Martin Gray was also positive on the announcement.

“This tax relief represents a significant opportunity for independent repairers to focus on their own business growth,” he commented. “Indeed, that extra £8,000 would serve workshops well if they invested it in the skills and equipment required to continue servicing the vehicles of tomorrow. Modern vehicles are becoming more complex with sophisticated use of electrics and it is essential that the independent sector has both the skills and equipment required to work safely on these vehicles during repair and servicing work.”

Apprenticeships

In his speech, the Chancellor announced that the 10% fee small businesses must pay when they hire an apprentice has been halved, as part of a £695 million package to support apprenticeships.

“The pledge opens the door for apprentices to access the right level of funding to ensure the very best training as they become our technicians of the future,” Gray added. “It also goes some way in addressing concerns raised by the IMI that the industry needs three million more apprentices by 2020. However, Mr. Hammond did not confirm a fixed date for the change to come into effect, and we would like to see greater clarity for repairers.”

Mental health

The budget also promised an extra £2 billion for mental health services in the UK, at a time when more and more people are opening up to various issues.

“It isn’t clear at this stage how this money will be spent but I’m hopeful that this additional funding will be used for prevention as well as improving further access to talking therapies, with reduced waiting times for assessment and treatment,” said Rachel Clift, Health & Wellbeing Director at Ben

“The budget announcement also included a 10-year plan for the NHS, which will include new mental health crisis services including comprehensive mental health support available in every major A&E, specialist ambulances and hotline. These changes will undoubtedly have an impact on the way we work with people. With more specialised mental health support available in A&E departments, we will need to understand this service and factor these changes into our support services, referral pathways and crisis management procedures.”

What do you think of the Chancellors budget? Give us your opinions on the Auto Repair Focus Facebook Group – click here