Here you will find the latest news, updates and communication resources from the BVRLA. Members, media partners, journalists and other commentators can feel free to republish the content in part or in full, crediting the association.
Latest Email Bulletins
The BVRLA issues a series of regular email bulletins to keep members informed of the very latest advice, guidance and support from government relating to the coronavirus pandemic and EU Exit. Any individual working for a member organisation can sign up to receive BVRLA updates, including the Bulletins below:
28 October 2020
Operating in Wales during the ‘firebreak’ lockdown
The BVRLA has obtained clarification that the firebreak lockdown in Wales will operate like the lockdown experienced across the UK earlier this year. Of interest to members will be that:
- Vehicle rental businesses will be able to remain open.
- Logistics firms can deliver and collect leased vehicles from homes and offices.
- Auction sites who deliver and collect vehicles will still be able to carry out this aspect of their work.
- Auction sites and car dealerships in Wales will need to close to members of the public for sales, however, this does not impact on the service element of the dealership if this is necessary and cannot reasonably be deferred until after the lockdown period.
- Routine services should be deferred.
It is important to note that whilst operating, social distancing must be observed, further information on how to do this compliantly is available in the BVRLA Guide to Operating during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Department for Transport has provided a letter to the logistics sector to clarify how they should be working, as well as a letter confirming that the industry should carry on working to ‘the greatest extent possible’. These can be useful should you need to provide proof to the police if asked.
Overview of how the UK has been impacted by Covid-19
The Office for National Statistics has published a thematic overview of how society and the economy has been impacted and responded to the Covid-19 pandemic to date, for the period March to October 2020. The overview contains several reports of interest to members including:
The 23-page Business Impact Review, which shows that smaller businesses have been hit hardest with 85% of micro businesses trading as at the end of September, compared with 97% of businesses with 250 or more employees.
The 33-page Labour Market Review, which shows that the unemployment rate for all people was 4.5% up by 0.6 percentage points from a year earlier and redundancies increased in June to August 2020 to 227,000. The number of redundancies reached its highest level since May to July 2009.
HMRC estimates indicate that there were 28.3 million payroll employees in September 2020; a cumulative decline of 673,000 payroll employees since March 2020.
The 22-page Mobility and Trade Review shows that the volume of all motor vehicle traffic on 19 October was 11% below the levels seen on the first Monday of February, with car traffic down 15%.
Companies House to keep offices closed to the public
Companies House has confirmed that their London, Cardiff, Belfast and Edinburgh offices will remain closed to the public until March 2021 and they have published guidance on how they have adapted the way they work to maintain their services whilst protecting the welfare of their employees.
Customers are encouraged to use their online services to make sure that information is processed on time as paper documents, forms and letters sent by post are taking much longer to process.
Guidance updated on claiming back SSP
Government guidance on claiming back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus has been updated to include that employers can ask employees for a ‘shielding note’ or a letter from their doctor or health authority advising them to shield because they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus.
Latest transport figures show slowdown in vehicle usage
The Department for Transport’s weekly transport usage figures show a slowdown in motor vehicle usage during October as more areas across the UK become subject to tougher restrictions.
FCA to issue its second mandatory Covid-19 Impact Survey
The Financial Conduct Authority is advising all regulated firms of the dates for completion of the second tranche of Covid surveys, being sent out in the first two weeks of November:
- Batch 1: to be sent on 3 Nov - response due by 27 Nov
- Batch 2: to be sent on 5 Nov - response due by 1 Dec
- Batch 3: to be sent on 6 Nov - response due by 2 Dec
- Batch 4: to be sent on 10 Nov - response due by 4 Dec
This follows the regulator’s first Covid-19 Impact Survey, which canvassed feedback from around 13,000 firms in June, and a further 9,500 firms at the beginning of August.
The FCA will contact firms to provide at least a day’s prior notice to them receiving the survey, which this time includes an extra two questions to cover the potential impact of Brexit. The new survey will include 12 questions in total, covering:
- Liquidity/ cash availability and needs
- Recent financial performance
- Scale of business activity
- Access to government schemes
- Impact of Brexit
FCA support for consumers struggling with payments
The Financial Conduct Authority has put in place a package of support for people in difficulty to ensure help is available after 31 October and is advising consumers struggling to make repayments due to the impact of Covid-19, to speak to their lenders about options available to them.
The guidance is designed to ensure that people can access tailored support which meets their individual needs, including taking account of local Covid restrictions.
Support will be available both to those who have previously taken a payment deferral and those who are newly in financial difficulty, considering the specific needs of vulnerable consumers.
Guidance for firms is available on the FCA website. Firms are being asked to be flexible and offer a full range of shorter and longer-term options which are tailored to reflect their customers individual circumstances, including:
- suspending, reducing, waiving or cancelling any further interest or charges
- permitting the customer to make no or reduced payments or
- agreeing a repayment plan.
22 October 2020
Update on the progress of EU trade negotiations
Responding to a statement made yesterday by EU Chief Negotiator Michael Barnier, in which he acknowledged that movement would be needed from both sides in the talks if agreement was to be reached, the Prime Minister has issued a statement confirming that the UK will welcome the EU team to London to resume negotiations later this week.
Government warned of the impact on fleets of having no free trade agreement
The BVRLA has written to senior Government officials warning of the estimated costs that will burden the fleet industry if the UK and EU fail to reach a free trade agreement.
With 72% of fleet cars and 68% of vans estimated to be sourced from the EU, the impact of not having a free trade deal would be disastrous for the fleet industry. Tariffs would add £2.1 billion a year to the UK fleet sector’s car renewal costs and £310 million a year to the sector’s van renewal costs, according to industry figures.
In a letter sent to senior ministers and policymakers, the BVRLA has asked the Government to:
- Continue to work with the EU to reach a deal
- Protect order banks by confirming that, in the event of no EU-UK free trade agreement, there will be a waiver on the tariffs on cars, vans, HGVs and parts ordered before the end of the year which arrive after 1 January 2021.
- Implement a tariff review process now for certain key sectors to request tariff level reviews post 1 January 2021 once their full impact is apparent.
- Create a process now for firms to apply for temporary tariff waivers on specific products when there is not sufficient UK supply.
- Support the BEV market by providing additional tax incentives and grants that will maintain the supply and cost competitiveness of BEVs in the UK.
EU Exit Business Advice page updated with members’ Q&A
A new section has been added to the BVRLA EU Exit Business Advice web page containing questions from members relating to EU Exit, alongside responses from government officials.
Under the heading of ‘Members’ EU Exit questions answered’ there is a list of Q&A relating to tariffs and trade agreements, customs and more. Questions were put to officials at the recent BVRLA Fleets in Charge digital event, but time pressures left the questions unanswered.
The BVRLA is grateful to the Cabinet Office, HMRC and the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy for providing their answers afterwards.
Government launches plans to keep trade flowing
The Department for Transport has announced its plans to keep trade flowing by minimising the risk of disruption at the end of the transition period.
A new communication campaign targeting hauliers through radio, press and digital advertising is being launched to make sure that hauliers are aware of the upcoming changes and have the correct documentation, reducing the risk of delays at the border.
It will be mandatory for all heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) using the Short Straits channel crossings to obtain a digital Kent Access Permit (KAP) and hauliers are being encouraged to apply for a European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permit as a precautionary measure. Following the end of the transition period, ECMT permits may be needed to support hauliers accessing the EU.
UK will mirror EU CO2 targets post EU Exit
The Government has confirmed that the UK will mirror the EU CO2 regulations for UK registrations from January 2021.
As of next year, registrations in the UK will no longer count towards manufacturer’s EU CO2 targets. This means that manufacturers will have to meet ambitious CO2 targets in the UK after the end of the transition period, with mirrored fines and planned future reductions of 15% for cars and vans by 2025, and 37.5% for cars and a 31% for vans by 2030.
The BVRLA remains concerned about whether manufacturers will maintain an adequate supply of electric vehicles into the UK beyond January and is in regular discussion with Government on this matter.
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