Industry reacts to 2024 General Election Result

As the election result comes in, the UK has seen a change in government, with the Labour Party sweeping to power in a landslide election victory. 

The party has won a majority of 174 seats, allowing it to govern effectively until the next election. Kier Starmer will now become the UK Prime Minister, while the Conservative Party enters the role of opposition.

The automotive aftermarket has reacted to the new government, as it hopes for change that will benefit the sector in the years ahead. 

Industry reaction to election result

Following the election result, the aftermarket is reacting to the new political landscape that is unfolding, and the potential that it offers the automotive industry in the months and years to come.

LKQ UK & Ireland

“We look forward to a new government bringing a fresh policy perspective in the interest of delivering a sustainable, prosperous future for the independent aftermarket,” commented Kevan Wooden, CEO at LKQ UK & Ireland after the general election result.

“Starmer’s plans to restore the 2030 phase-out date for new cars with internal combustion engines (ICE) will have the most immediate impact on the industry. Some in the aftermarket had delayed investment plans for retooling and reskilling, but it will now be imperative for garages to kickstart their transition as to not miss out on electric vehicle (EV) custom.

“Labour’s plans to retain the full expensing tax incentive will help to reduce the cost of new equipment for garages. But Starmer’s government could go one step further by including learning and development within full expensing too. Incentivising training will be important to help meet the 2030 deadline, with only 11% of UK mechanics currently qualified to work on EVs.

“The industry will want to learn how the EV skills gap can be plugged through Labour’s proposed body Skills England. A blend of automotive skills strategy and private training will be key to meeting the aftermarket’s future talent needs, and we are well underway expanding the LKQ Academy to support this.

“The introduction of a standardised battery health certification scheme for used vehicles under Labour could also represent a new income opportunity for garages, incentivising them further to upskill and retool for servicing plug-in vehicles sooner rather than later. Garages and workshops will eagerly anticipate more details on the scheme.

“With a new government, we’ll continue to represent the interests of independent repairers as we help to inform and shape policy alongside our peers in the industry. This will include continued campaigning for fair, shared and secure access to the latest software and access codes – to ensure our customers can complete every job that comes into the workshop safely and to a high standard. Doing so is key to protecting the 350,000 livelihoods the aftermarket supports, and ultimately to consumers’ ability to choose where they take their vehicles for great quality, great value, local service, maintenance and repair work.”

Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI)

“The Institute of the Motor Industry welcomes the opportunity to engage with the new government as the result is declared for the 4th July 2024 General Election. 

“The Labour party clearly identified its understanding of the importance of skills for UK infrastructure in its manifesto; it was also the only party with a dedicated Automotive policy which recognised the contribution the motor industry will play in achieving net zero goals.

“With a stated plan to allocate £1.5 billion to new gigafactories, as well as restoring the phase-out date of 2030 for new cars with internal combustion engines, clearly there is no time to lose in addressing the current challenges around further education and apprenticeships, as well as uplifting skills in the sector. 

“The IMI will therefore aim to work closely with the relevant ministers as they are appointed, as well as the departments that will influence future education, skills and automotive policies, representing the interests of its members and the wider road using public to ensure UK automotive remains a global leader.”

Independent Garage Association

“The Independent Garage Association (IGA) extends congratulations to the Labour Party on their recent election victory. We look forward to engaging with Sir Keir Starmer and his team to support the independent garage sector. As we move forward, the IGA is eager to discuss with the Labour government the strategic actions and policies that will support and enhance our industry.

“Key areas of focus include attracting new talent and addressing the unique challenges faced by the automotive industry in terms of apprenticeships. The sustainability and growth of the independent garage sector depend on the ability of the sector to attract and retain skilled professionals.

“As the industry evolves with new innovations, it is essential for independent garages to adopt these technologies to meet the growing demand for the repair and maintenance of zero-emission vehicles. We are eager for initiatives that provide garages with the tools and knowledge needed to embrace these advancements, in line with the government’s zero-emission vehicle mandate, which became law on January 3rd, 2024.”The IGA is committed to working collaboratively with the Labour government to address these critical issues. Through partnership and open dialogue, we aim to achieve significant advancements for the independent garage sector. Once again, congratulations to Sir Keir Starmer and the Labour Party. We anticipate productive discussions and a strong relationship moving forward.

Stuart James, IGA Chief Executive, noted the importance of tailored government policies to address the decline in automotive apprenticeship registrations. “The independent garage sector is vital to the economy, managing 70% of the UK’s vehicle service and maintenance work. It is essential that apprenticeship policies take into account the unique challenges and opportunities this sector faces as automotive technology advances more rapidly than ever before.”

Auto Trader

“All too often in the recent past, we’ve seen short term political advantage prioritised at the expense of the serious long-term decision-making the country needs to meet net zero goals,” commented Ian Plummer, Commercial Director at Auto Trader.

“Given the size of their mandate, we would like to see Labour do more to support the transition to greener vehicles. That means protecting the existing salary sacrifice and Benefit in Kind incentives to support the new electric car market, and targeted financial incentives on used electric cars to support greater adoption.

“We also need to be proactive and transparent about future changes in road pricing and taxes for electric cars so consumers can plan accordingly, as well as supporting the industry to install more chargers by speeding up planning and encouraging more creative ways to charge EVs near people’s homes.” 

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