In the aftermath of the Autumn Statement, NBRA acknowledges certain government initiatives supporting our members; however, we underscore the ongoing need for precise support measures aimed at sustaining the automotive repair sector amidst economic uncertainties,” states Martyn Rowley, Executive Director of the National Body Repair Association (NBRA).

Apprenticeships: We welcome the Government’s commitment to allocating a further £50m for a 2-year apprenticeship pilot, exploring new ways to stimulate training in key growth sectors. The repair sector, known for its role in social mobility, offers opportunities to people from all backgrounds. While we appreciate this as an initial step, we highlight the urgent need for comprehensive action in response to the industry’s unanimous plea for the reform or elimination of the Apprenticeship Levy. The absence of a direct response in the Autumn Statement is a missed opportunity, jeopardizing the development of a skilled workforce crucial to the repair sector. Currently, the industry faces a significant skills gap, creating a demand for fresh talent and new expertise.

Back to Work plan: “While the Back to Work plan addresses broader employment concerns, the NBRA urges the government to recognise the unique challenges faced by the automotive repair industry. Tailored measures are imperative to address the workforce’s distinct needs and foster sustainable employment within our sector.”

Small Businesses Support: “Additionally, the Chancellor is announcing a business rates support package worth £4.3 billion over the next five years to support small businesses. The small business multiplier will be frozen for a fourth consecutive year. NBRA welcomes this announcement as small businesses which are at the heart of the UKs economy, need access to capital to grow and invest. This move will significantly assist our members who have already been burdened by financial crises in the past years.”

Corporation Tax: “Maintaining the current Corporation Tax rate at 25% is acknowledged, but ongoing reviews are essential to ensure the competitiveness of businesses within the automotive repair sector. The small profits rate (companies with profits under £50,000) also remains at 19%. The NBRA advocates for strategic adjustments to incentivize growth and resilience in the face of economic uncertainties.” 

National Living Wage: “While the announcement of the National Living Wage increase is welcomed, recognising the specific challenges faced by businesses in the automotive repair sector is crucial. The NBRA emphasizes the need for nuanced approaches to address wage concerns within the industry.“.

Rowley concluded: “As the Autumn Statement unfolds, we extend a call for collaborative efforts between the government and the automotive repair sector. We urgently appeal for the government’s support, providing essential relief for body shop employees navigating the escalating financial pressures during this challenging era of the cost-of-living crisis. Immediate action on apprenticeship reform, strategic support for workforce development, and targeted measures to enhance industry competitiveness are not mere suggestions but indispensable steps for securing the future of vehicle repairers. The NBRA remains committed in our engagement with the government to ensure sustained support for body shops and vehicle repairers.“.