To make sure you receive the latest Covid-19 Bulletin members need to log into your online account and make sure you have Industry News & Insight ticked as a communication preference.
COVID-19 guidance on vehicle rental and leasing operations
The BVRLA has produced new FAQ guidance for members and their customers, setting out some of the key requirements and recommended best practice that should be adhered to during the COVID-19 outbreak. It includes advice on:
- Business closures and exemptions
- Essential workers and services
- Rental and lease agreements
- Customer forbearance
- Vehicle movements
- Working in the office or remotely
- Penalty Charge Notices
- BVRLA inspections
This advice is being added to all the time, and the BVRLA is currently working with the FLA, SMMT and key government departments with the aim of developing some ‘accredited’, industry-wide guidance.
If you have a question that needs answering or have some additional best practice that could be shared, please contact Amanda Brandon on Amanda@bvrla.co.uk
HMRC offers webinar advice on supporting employees
HMRC has launched a series of webinars providing employers with more details and guidance on how they can support employees during the COVID-19 outbreak. They include advice on:
- the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- refunding eligible Statutory Sick Pay costs
- furloughed employees and more
Employers can access a recording of the webinar or register for the next one via this GOV.UK page.
HMRC is planning to expand on the range of webinars on offer in the near future.
BVRLA seeks temporary Consumer Credit Act relief for motor finance providers
The BVRLA has written to HM Treasury asking for a temporary relief from Consumer Credit Act (CCA) forbearance provisions. At present, lenders are desperate to ‘do the right thing’ and assist their customers, but they are constrained by some of the procedural rigidities within the CCA. Some of the CCA provisions that are, in normal circumstances, intended to protect consumers are now hamstringing those who want to assist them in their time of need.
Under CCA rules the process for offering forbearance requires a modifying agreement to be signed and agreed. In the current circumstances, this adds unnecessary administrative pressure and customer complexity. Firms are already administratively stretched to breaking point by the Coronavirus pandemic and customers need rapid solutions to their financial challenges.
Firms wanting to take swift action to support their customers are instead being forced to use informal agreements. These agreements leave them open to later challenges and the potential situation where their lease contracts are unenforceable. By acting in their customer’s best interest firms can be opening themselves up to later litigation and ruinous costs. These risks are currently preventing some lenders from providing more support to customers.
There are also potential impacts for the customer in an informal agreement. Such agreements can technically leave them in breach of their contract, which can have an impact on their credit score. Lenders are also obligated to send Arrears Notices which can be deeply unsettling for the consumer at what is already a worrying time.
The BVRLA is working with the FLA as it proposes some emergency secondary legislation aimed at providing temporary relief from CCA forbearance provisions. These measures recognise the extraordinary circumstances of the current crisis and the need to give lenders the tools they need to treat their customers with compassion.
Independent lenders can now access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The British Business Bank (BBB) has now confirmed that FCA regulated credit brokers, finance houses and leasing providers could be eligible to access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). CBILS provides financial support to smaller businesses across the UK that are losing revenue or seeing their cashflow disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The scheme provides lenders with up to £5m which can then be provided to SMEs in the form of asset finance. CBILS gives lenders a government-backed guarantee for the loan repayments to encourage more lending. More details can be found on the BBB website. The BBB has said it is doing everything it can to try and speed up the accreditation process.
The scheme is a part of a wider package of government support for UK businesses and employees. Read more at the Government’s Business Support website.
Company Car Benefit in Kind Tax during the COVID-19 outbreak
HMRC has provided the following update on the issue of whether company car tax should be paid while vehicles are unavailable or unused by workers:
“You have asked if the car is ‘unavailable’ to the employee for a period of time could HMRC confirm that the car benefit charge would no longer apply. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as not using cars for a particular period of time, whether that be for 30 days (the period of minimum ‘unavailability’ stated in legislation), or any shorter period that the government might consider.
The benefit charge applies where a car is made available for private use, whether or not it is so used. For example, a car kept on an employee’s driveway during a period of furlough would still be considered to be made available. Neither would HMRC accept a SORN declaration as proof of unavailability. Guidance explains when HMRC would not accept that a car is unavailable and includes when there is no road tax, MOT or insurance.
In most cases, HMRC would expect that the car is handed back to the employer so that it cannot be used. However, we recognise that under the current circumstances it may not be possible to hand the car itself back, so exceptionally, we would accept that where all the keys (or tabs) are in possession of the employer, and the employee does not have the authority to request the keys are returned to them, the car would be ‘unavailable.’"
Food supply chain needs refrigerated vehicles
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) is working with the Department for Transport to better understand the spare capacity of temperature-controlled trucks and vans within the vehicle rental and leasing sector.
The COVID-19 outbreak has put more pressure on the food supply chain, with increasing demands for deliveries in and out of retail distribution centres and to individual homes.
Members that have refrigerated vehicles available should get in touch with Chris Seaton at the RHA (firstname.lastname@example.org), who is co-ordinating the logistics sector’s response on this issue.
New website for businesses wanting to offer Coronavirus support
The Government has launched a new website for businesses that feel they might be able to help in the response to Coronavirus.
Some of the help being sought includes:
- transport and logistics, for moving goods or people
- warehouse or office space, for medical use or storage
- expertise or support on IT, manufacturing, construction, project management, procurement, engineering or communications
Business that feel that they can help, can register on the new COVID-19 support website.
HGV licensing and inspection update
The Office of the Traffic Commissioner has confirmed a more flexible approach to adding and removing vehicles from operator licences and the ability for operators to maintain their regular inspection programmes. The latest advice is on their website.
Update on DVLA operations during the Coronavirus pandemic
The DVLA has confirmed that its telephone-based driving licence check service will not be available for the foreseeable future. Members are advised to get customers to generate a check code via the Government’s Driving Licence Check website.
DVLA systems have now been updated to enable fleets to electronically tax vehicles that have been temporarily exempted from requiring an MOT. This service can only be used on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis.
Extra support for critical vehicle movements
Cox Automotive has launched a new service to facilitate the movement of vehicles for critical service fleets.
The service is accessed via the company’s Movex platform, an online marketplace that gives trade customers access to a large number of transport providers.
Some of these transport businesses are still operating and providing essential movement services (strictly within the UK Government guidelines) to support a wide variety of critical services.
Any companies needing a transport provider for essential business should visit https://movex.co.uk/
How is Coronavirus impacting the public EV charging network?
BVRLA members and customers are being asked to provide details of EV charge point availability for key workers and essential services.
ZapMap is working with the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) to run a survey to understand:
- the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on EV charging in the UK
- how EVs are being used for essential travel
- to identify key workers who are using EVs and require access to EV charging facilities to continue their work
The results of the survey will be made available to the UK Government, charge point operators and other organisations who are working hard to ensure that EV charging infrastructure is available for all key workers during the coronavirus outbreak.
The survey will be open for the next few days and can be found here.
Temporary changes to Driver CPC regime
The Department of Transport has put in place temporary changes in professional driver qualifications requirements. This means that truck drivers whose Driver CPC card expires between 1 March 2020 and 30 September 2020 can continue driving.
Most professional lorry and bus drivers must complete 35 hours periodic training every 5 years to maintain a Driver CPC card (sometimes called a ‘driver qualification card’ or ‘DQC’).
The changes have been introduced due to the difficulty drivers will have in completing the required training during the COVID-19 outbreak. More details are available here.
Travel ban exemption template for vehicle rental employees
As police around the country ramp-up their enforcement of the Government's travel lockdown and business closures, BVRLA has published a template letter that vehicle rental members can provide to staff that are supporting key workers and critical services.
The template can be used by any members that want to provide supporting evidence for employees, confirming the reason for their travel. It should be provided to staff on company headed paper.
It is a draft and should be adapted to suit your circumstances. There is no provision currently within legislation for any letter or pass system and as such this document is for guidance only. You can download the draft template here.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: BVRLA seeks clarity on commissions and bonuses
BVRLA has written to the Treasury to obtain more clarity on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
The scheme, launched by the Government to support the payroll costs of furloughed workers, provides a grant to cover 80% of an employee’s regular wage, up to a maximum of £2,500. Guidance published alongside the scheme says that ‘fees, commission and bonuses should not be included.’
Many sales staff within the automotive supply chain rely on regular commissions and bonuses to supplement an otherwise low basic salary. If the exclusion of commission is applied, this will cause undue hardship for many furloughed workers, who will be unable to receive anything close to 80% of their regular wage.
Elsewhere in its guidance, the Government provides a methodology for calculating the regular wage of employees ‘whose pay varies’. The BVRLA has asked HM Treasury to ensure that furloughed workers who receive basic pay and regular monthly commissions can be treated in this way, by basing the Job Retention Scheme payment on:
- the same month’s earning from the previous year
- average monthly earnings from the 2019-20 tax year
“Vehicle orders and deliveries are frozen and the leasing sector faces massive cash flow pressures,” said BVRLA Chief Executive, Gerry Keaney.
“As a result, many leasing broker staff are being furloughed or face that prospect. These workers have been contributing tax and national insurance at their higher-earning level, not at their base salary, so they should benefit equally from any State support.”
Government relaxes insolvency rules
Business Secretary Alok Sharma has announced that he will make changes to enable UK companies undergoing a rescue or restructure process to continue trading, giving them breathing space that could help them avoid insolvency.
This will also include enabling companies to continue buying much-needed supplies while attempting a rescue, and temporarily suspending wrongful trading provisions retrospectively from 1 March 2020 for three months for company directors, so they can keep their businesses going without the threat of personal liability.
Petition for SME directors paying themselves through limited companies
Nearly 200,000 people have now signed a petition calling for the Government to provide more self-employment support to the directors of small businesses who take their income from the company as a small salary and the rest as dividends.
Dividend income is not classed as self-employment income for the purposes of the Coronavirus self-employed income support scheme, which provides a taxable grant of up to 80% of an individual’s average monthly profit over the last three years, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. This means that many directors will get much less support than they might have hoped for, because it is only based on their small salary.
Some directors will be able to claim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which offers employers support for a salary subsidy reimbursing 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
WLTP-based motoring taxes will still take effect in April
HM Treasury has confirmed that it will not be delaying the introduction of WLTP-based motoring taxation in April.
The BVRLA is well-aware of the administrative and financial challenges members are facing with this tax change, which have been exacerbated by the huge volume of undelivered and unsupplied vehicles that are stuck at various stages within the order process.
The association has had extensive discussions with HM Treasury on this issue. They have explained that any delay would have to be applied to the whole market and would require Ministerial scrutiny and primary legislation. Given the timescales involved, the fact that Parliament is now in recess and the allocation of Treasury staff to other Covid-19 related priorities, they are unable to make any changes.
Financial support: Job Retention Scheme
The Government has introduced a temporary Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, open to all UK employers for at least three months starting from 1 March 2020. Claims can be backdated from this date if applicable.
The scheme, due to be up and running by the end of April, is designed to support employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus.
Employers can use a portal to claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees on a leave of absence) usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage.
Employers can use this scheme anytime during this three-month period and it is open to all UK employers that had created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on 28 February 2020.
You can only submit one claim at least every 3 weeks, which is the minimum length an employee can be furloughed for.
The guidance makes it clear that commission and bonuses are not considered when calculating an individual’s wage, just their basic gross salary. The BVRLA is aware that commissions and bonuses form a significant part of the salary package for many motor finance employees and will be highlighting this issue to the Government.
FCA update on compliance and consumer credit support
The BVRLA has been in contact with the FCA for an update on compliance issues during the COVID-19 crisis:
- The authority expects companies to continue with their usual compliance monitoring and reporting procedures, including the submission of regulatory data. The BVRLA highlighted the fact that some firms may be unable to continue recording calls while their staff were working remotely. The FCA advised that where firms are unable to maintain their usual compliance and reporting procedures, they should contact the FCA in the first instance. There is no automatic forbearance on this.
- The FCA stressed the importance of Business Continuity Planning and that firms should be following their plans to ensure good customer outcomes.
- The FCA flagged that there had been an increase in scams taking place during this time and advised that further information would be available shortly on a dedicated web page.
- The BVRLA raised a question on the extension of lease agreements where consumers are asking for payment holidays. At present, firms are required to complete lengthy formal documentation required of them under the Consumer Credit Act. The current surge in such requests is making it hard for members to meet these statutory obligations and provide a speedy ‘good outcome’ for consumers. The FCA recognised that the BVRLA and FLA have raised this issue and advised that it is something that they are already in discussions with Treasury on. They will be providing a further update in due course, but in the meantime would welcome examples of regulatory barriers and paperwork that are impractical given the current circumstances.
Financial support: Self-employment Income Support Scheme
The Government has introduced a Self-employment Income Support Scheme to support self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, whose income has been negatively impacted by coronavirus.
Self-employed people who have set themselves up as a Limited Company are not eligible for this relief.
The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant.
The scheme will be open to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000. The scheme will be open for an initial three months with people able to make their first claim by the beginning of June.
Individuals should not contact HMRC now. HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational.
HMRC’s tax helpline number has changed
HMRC has a set up a phone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus.
The tax helpline number has changed to 08000 241222. Opening hours are from 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday. Calls to the old helpline number will be redirected automatically.
Updated guidance on vehicle rental status
The Government has updated the guidance on businesses that must remain closed, clarifying that ‘vehicle rental services’ are exempt. The Cabinet Office has confirmed that car, van, minibus and truck rental are all exempt where members are working with essential workers, goods and services.
Customer forbearance and liquidity in the motor finance sector
The BVRLA is working with the FLA and HM Treasury to ensure that the Government can provide appropriate support for the motor finance sector as it faces a big rise in requests for payment holidays, early terminations and other adjustments to their leasing contracts. We will keep members updated when we have more news to share, but if you would like to speak to someone at the BVRLA in the meantime, please contact Amanda Brandon.
Penalty Charge Notices and Fines
We are working with a number of stakeholders to try and alleviate concerns around the administration and payment of PCNs and fines during the lockdown period.
- Dart Charge has confirmed that late representations will be acceptable and are piloting an electronic solution. Further details will be available soon.
- Transport for London – has confirmed that the Congestion Charge, Low Emission Zone and Ultra Low Emission Zone are suspended. If you would like a spreadsheet of penalties issued within the last two weeks, please contact Amanda Brandon.
- London Councils – has asked boroughs to take a flexible approach to enforcement.
- Private parking – we are working with the British Parking Association to encourage its members to accept electronic communication and a more flexible approach to enforcement.
Coronavirus Bill and what it will do
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has identified that to effectively manage a coronavirus outbreak in the UK, we need to introduce new fast-tracked legislation. The Coronavirus Act 2020 has now become law and is available on legislation.gov. Details have been published explaining what the Coronavirus Bill will do.
Business support grant funding
The new guidance on business support grant funding sets out details of eligibility and delivery of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).
Revised Business rates guidance
Guidance has been updated to ensure that certain properties previously excluded from the relief, but that have been forced to close as a result of imposed restrictions, will now be eligible for the relief.
Most commercial insurance policies are unlikely to cover pandemics or unspecified notifiable diseases, such as COVID-19. However, those businesses which have an insurance policy that covers government ordered closure and pandemics or government ordered closure and unspecified notifiable disease should be able to make a claim, subject to the terms and conditions of their policy.
Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. Further information is available.
Protection from eviction for commercial tenants
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction. Further details are now available.
Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp
The Government has launched a free GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp. To use it simply add 07860 064422 to your phone contacts and message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.
Car rental exemption from business closures is confirmed
The Government has today published updated guidance on further business premises to close.
No10 has confirmed that the car rental sector was mistakenly omitted from the list of exempted retail businesses in the guidance published this morning, but this will be corrected later today, and car rental will continue to be exempt from closure.
Three-month extension to file business accounts
The Government has confirmed that from today, businesses can apply for a 3-month extension to file accounts with Companies House.
This joint initiative between the government and Companies House will enable businesses to prioritise managing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As part of the agreed measures, while companies will still have to apply for the 3-month extension to be granted, those citing issues around COVID-19 will be automatically and immediately granted an extension. Applications can be made through a fast-tracked online system which will take just 15 minutes to complete.
Six-month MOT exemption introduced
Vehicle owners will be granted a 6-month exemption from MOT testing, enabling them to continue to travel to work where this absolutely cannot be done from home, or shop for necessities.
All cars, vans and motorcycles which usually would require an MOT test will be exempted from needing a test from 30 March 2020. This temporary legislation will be in place for 12 months.
Vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition, and garages will remain open for essential repair work. Drivers can be prosecuted if driving unsafe vehicles and should follow advice on keeping a vehicle in a good condition.
If you cannot get an MOT that’s due because you’re in self-isolation, the Department for Transport is working with insurers and the police to ensure people are not unfairly penalised for things out of their control.
Three-month driving test suspension
All practical driving tests and annual testing for lorries, buses and coaches have been suspended for up to three months.
Car rental is exempt from retail business closure
The Government has today published guidance on business closure following the introduction of new measures confirming that all retail outlets selling non-essential goods must close immediately to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The following retail businesses, including vehicle rental, are exempt from closure:
Supermarkets and other food shops, health shops, pharmacies including non-dispensing pharmacies, petrol stations, bicycle shops, home and hardware shops, laundrettes and dry cleaners, garages, car rentals, pet shops, corner shops, newsagents, post offices, and banks.
UK in lockdown to mitigate virus spread
At 8.30pm yesterday (23 March) the Prime Minister announced that UK citizens must stay at home and only leave their home for the following reasons:
- shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
- one form of exercise a day - for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household;
- any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
- travelling to and from work, but only where this is ‘absolutely necessary’ and cannot be done from home. All workers must work from home unless it is impossible for them to do so.
The Government is not saying that the construction industry stops at this point
Government launches dedicated business support website
Today, the Government has launched a dedicated Coronavirus Business Support website to help businesses during this Covid-19 national emergency.
A government information campaign has also launched today to ensure businesses are aware of the support available to them and how to access it. In addition to a new central website, the campaign will use media channels including radio, social media and television to reach businesses eligible for help.
Government initiates business shutdown
This weekend the Government published a list of business and venue types that must remain closed from Saturday 21 March, in a move to help combat the spread of the Covid-19 virus. A full list can be found on the Gov.UK website.
The Government has also published plans on enforcing the closure requirements that will see fines issued to those flouting the rules.
Although vehicle rental operators are not currently being asked to close, everybody is being asked to adhere to strict social distancing measures, maintaining a minimum of 2m distance from others.
Updated guidance for UK businesses trading internationally
On Saturday 21 March, the Government updated its Covid-19 guidance for UK businesses trading internationally and members are advised to check the latest update on the Gov.UK website.
DVSA: Lorry, Bus and trailer MOT exemption
The DVSA has confirmed that lorries, buses and trailers will be exempt from needing an MOT for three months from 21 March 2020.
You may need to apply for this exemption, depending on your vehicle and should check the full guidance on the GOV.uk website.
TfL: Suspension of all road user charging schemes
Transport for London has announced that all road user charging schemes in the capital will be temporarily suspended from today (23 March) until further notice.
The London Mayor hopes that this will help critical workers, particularly those in the NHS, to travel round London as easily as possible during this national emergency. It also supports the supply chain, the effort to keep supermarkets fully stocked and the city's continued operation.
Schools close their doors today for the foreseeable future and the Government is asking parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, to help limit the spreading of the Covid-19 virus.
Education providers are being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children who are either deemed vulnerable or for those whose parents are classed as key workers.
What constitutes ‘vulnerable children’:
Children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with Education, Health & Care Plans (ECHP).
What is a ‘key worker’?:
Those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors critical to the Covid-19 response as outlined in a list published by the Government yesterday.
Transport falls under this list and includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.
Is vehicle rental classed as a key sector for the Covid-19 response?
Only vehicle rental staff that can prove that they play an essential role in supplying mobility to NHS, social care and other critical services (as set out in the link above), should assume that they also qualify as being able to use the emergency educational provision provided by schools.
Where functions can be carried out at home, they should, be in line with government’s advice to invoke social distancing and minimise contact with others.
To conclude today’s Bulletin, I want to draw your attention to the updated BVRLA Covid-19 web page which contains further information about business rates and includes links to information for those businesses based in devolved nations.
We are continuing to seek clarity from government on whether the business rate support and cash grants are also available for van and truck rental companies and leasing brokers.
BVRLA Chief Executive
The Government has confirmed that car rental companies in England will benefit from a business rate holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
The recently announced initiative is designed to help support businesses managing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The guidance which has been published for local authorities confirms that where the premises are wholly or mainly being used for the purposes of car rental, the business rates holiday is available.
Organisations can apply to their local authority if their branch is based in, and pays business rates to, an English local authority, regardless of where the head office is located.
Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should be directed to your relevant local authority.
Full details on the support for businesses is available on the Government website.
BVRLA Chief Executive
BVRLA Chief Executive Gerry Keaney wrote to the Chancellor on 18 March 2020 asking for business and regulatory support for the fleet sector.
The letter makes clear the vital role that the vehicle rental sector will play in maintaining the essential movement of people, goods and services as the Covid-19 situation evolves.
In the letter, the government is asked to provide:
- Around 50% of most rental operator transactions are for leisure purposes (i.e. not for business), and most of this business is generated via airports, ports and other tourist locations. Can you ensure the vehicle rental sector is also included within your definition of the ‘leisure’ industry so that SME vehicle rental companies can obtain grants where their rateable value is between £15,000 and below £51,000.
- Abolish the payment of business rates for all companies until it is clear the economic impact of the outbreak is beginning to decrease.
- Ensure, in legislation, that banks are not permitted to foreclose on rental, leasing or car club businesses during the crisis and until this legislation is abolished.
- Provide all businesses with at least three-months relief from paying VAT or employer’s National Insurance.
- The government should guarantee a significant percentage of the salary of workers who are at serious risk of redundancy.
- Cut VAT on goods and services, to stimulate demand and consumer spending, especially when the crisis is over.
- Require HMRC’s default position to be the offer of a payment plan as part of the Time to Pay Scheme. Current guidance only states that HMRC “may” offer a plan.
- We would echo the CBI’s call for “emergency relief for SMEs if the total cost of sick pay becomes unsustainable” to help maintain their cash flow.
Operational and regulatory support
- Ensure any planned business or transport closures being considered do not include vehicle rental branches. We have already seen rental branches exempted from such closures in France, Austria and Spain, due to their essential role in providing mobility.
- Penalty charge notices. With most staff now working remotely, people must be exempted or given more time to provide driver details and pay penalty charge notices and parking fines, due to:
a) Posted fines and charges sitting unopened in empty offices
b) Vehicles being stranded due to COVID-19 related closures or illness
- We would also request a temporary relaxation of the strict requirements for MOTs and commercial vehicle periodic maintenance inspections as many fleets are finding that test centres, authorised testing facilities (ATFs) and workshops are closed or unavailable.
- Require local authorities to follow London’s lead in relaxing rules on overnight and weekend deliveries, enabling logistics companies to maintain the supply chain for food medicines and other essential goods.
Update from Chief Executive Gerry Keaney
I would like to take this opportunity to update you on the various steps the BVRLA is taking in response to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 outbreak. These include the measures we are taking to keep staff and members safe. They also include the activities we are undertaking to ensure that we keep the industry protected and well-informed during these turbulent times.
Although the BVRLA remains very much open for business, we are taking steps to adapt working practices to minimise face-to-face engagement.
We will review these processes again at the end of April but until then, the following now applies:
- There will be no face-to-face meetings of any kind either at the BVRLA office or off-site, including Committees, Working Groups or small business meetings.
- All meetings will be conducted using telephone and videoconferencing facilities such as Zoom and PowWowNow.
- All face-to-face BVRLA training courses will be rescheduled.
- BVRLA staff are setting up for remote working, where feasible and in accordance with government guidelines
As the pace of change continues to develop, the BVRLA will be working hard to ensure that you are provided with regular, rapid and repeated communications on all the latest advice and guidance relating to Covid-19.
We have introduced a dedicated Covid-19 Business Advice section on the BVRLA website and will be sending you a series of Covid-19 Bulletin emails to help keep you informed.
We are assessing our planned schedule of BVRLA conferences and forums and we will keep you updated in due course about any postponements or cancellations.
We continue to liaise directly with a range of government departments (BEIS, Treasury, DfT, MHCLG, Cabinet Office) and stakeholders (Leaseurope, UK airports, CBI, Tourism Alliance) to ensure that the needs of BVRLA members are taken into consideration. Some of the urgent actions we have called for include:
- Excluding vehicle rental branches and car clubs from any future business or transport restrictions
- Asking airports to relieve rental branches from the usual fixed fees and guaranteed operational requirements
If you have any questions, or would like to make suggestions about what support you feel our sector needs, please email the policy team via email@example.com.
Along with the BVRLA management team, I will continue to review the situation and keep you updated via regular updates.
BVRLA Chief Executive