The Independent Garage Association (IGA) is warning that additional support will be needed to protect businesses as they struggle to survive the ongoing energy-price crisis.
Following the announcement of the government’s Energy Bill Relief Scheme, the organisation states that in order to protect UK road safety, more needs to be done to help independent garages, all of whom are big consumers of energy.
The scheme, announced yesterday, will fix wholesale energy prices for businesses at £211 per MWh for electricity and £75 per MWh for gas, initially for six months between 1 October 2022 and 31 March 2023.
“We are pleased that the government has finally introduced support for businesses to help them with the extortionate cost of energy, following our communications with Chancellor and Secretary of State,” commented Stuart James, IGA Chief Executive. “However, small businesses like garages will need help far beyond the next six months to keep their doors open, protect jobs and help prevent accidents on our roads.
“Independent garages provide vital, affordable services that keep the UK’s vehicles roadworthy and roads safe, however we are already seeing reports that motorists are avoiding MOTs and car repairs to save money amidst the rising cost of living. If garages are forced to raise their prices significantly to cover their energy costs in the near future, this could seriously impact road safety throughout the UK.”
Energy bills audit
Earlier this month, the IGA launched a new service to help its members assess and reduce their energy costs. The Workshop Utilities Healthcheck is an audit carried out at members’ premises to survey their energy output and highlight areas where money could be saved.
Areas covered within the audit include equipment, heating, water, lighting, insulation and employee awareness, and the service will be included for no additional cost as part of IGA membership. For more information and to register interest, members can call the IGA on 01788 225 908, or email email@example.com.
There are fears that some workshops will need to increase wages to help staff combat the cost-of-living crisis. This, on top of increased energy costs, could mean budgets being reduced elsewhere, for example investment in tools or training. This would, in turn, lead to potential problems with road safety. Should garages be forced to close due to increased costs, drivers may struggle to find repairers to carry out essential maintenance, again impacting safety.
Announcing the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, UK Prime Minister Liz Truss said: “I understand the huge pressure businesses, charities and public sector organisations are facing with their energy bills, which is why we are taking immediate action to support them over the winter and protect jobs and livelihoods.
“As we are doing for consumers, our new scheme will keep their energy bills down from October, providing certainty and peace of mind.
“At the same time, we are boosting Britain’s homegrown energy supply so we fix the root cause of the issues we are facing and ensure greater energy security for us all.”