As the year draws to a close, BVRLA Chief Gerry Keaney shares his views on what has been another year of growth for the association.
Looking back at 2019, it has been a year of increased diversity and collaboration at the BVRLA.
Our membership has grown more diverse this year as we welcomed fleet operators into the association for the first time. This has further strengthened our position as the leading independent voice of the fleet industry and contributed to BVRLA membership increasing beyond the one thousand milestone.
BVRLA members’ businesses have also continued to diversify during the year as their business models have adapted to offer a broader range of mobility services. The lines between rental, leasing and commercial vehicle members continue to blur as they expand their range of services.
The association continues to attract firms of all sizes, with over 600 small and medium-sized businesses now in membership.
I am delighted to say that the BVRLA board is now also more diverse, more effectively representing its members. For the first time ever, we now have a longstanding member of the Leasing Broker Committee representing the leasing broker sector on the board, acknowledging the importance of this growing sector and its contribution to the industry.
The BVRLA also welcomed Nina Bell as its first-ever Chairwoman this year. The first in the association’s 52-year history acts as a spur to see more women pursuing a career in our industry at every level.
Collaboration has also been a strong theme running through many of the association’s achievements during 2019.
This year has seen the BVRLA gain unprecedented levels of access to government ministers and policymakers, regularly engaging with HM Treasury, Department for Transport, BEIS and Downing Street officials to emphasise the importance of getting the tax system right and explain why our industry can be a key partner to delivering the UK’s zero-emission goals.
With Brexit dominating the agenda, the BVRLA has been relentless in its attempts to remind policymakers that there are other urgent issues that also need to be prioritised by government. We were the only trade body lobbying the government on the impact that the new WLTP emissions standard would have on company car tax. Our campaign mobilised the whole fleet sector and in July we were delighted to see the government’s decision to freeze company car tax and introduce a 0% rate for zero emission vehicles. This move will benefit just under a million company car drivers.
This year’s Summer Parliamentary Reception attracted record numbers of guests including 50 parliamentarians and two government Ministers who joined over 150 members in a show of support for our policy recommendations in support of government’s emission targets.
A great example of collaboration came in November 2019, when the Department for Transport signed an agreement with the BVRLA to act as the approved partner to monitor and assess compliance against its Rental Vehicle Security Scheme. The BVRLA also played a leading role in developing this scheme demonstrating that the industry is determined to take a front-foot approach to tackling the threat of vehicle terrorism.
The BVRLA has also collaborated more closely with the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Financial Conduct Authority this year. The FCA addressed members at the association’s first-ever Leasing Broker Conference in May and also attended the leasing broker committee in November.
By working more closely with the regulators, we are in a stronger position to get our voice heard by those reviewing regulations and are better placed to support FCA-regulated members.
There have been many collaborations during 2019 and all have gone some way towards helping to support the sectors we represent.
Our 2019 Annual Review published today (5 December) provides a great overview of all the association's highlights during the past year and I would encourage you to take a look.
I would like to thank our members, the BVRLA team and our many partners for their efforts this year and look forward to continuing our work in 2020.