Lord Grimstone, Minister for Investment at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, has written a personal note to BVRLA members reflecting on the challenges faced by the rental and leasing sectors during the pandemic and applauding industry efforts to 'Build back better.'
I wanted to write to you all to pass on my thanks for your hard work throughout the pandemic. Your contribution to providing face to face essential services safely, input into safer workplace guidance, and challenge when you felt policies didn’t resonate with you, have been valued and appreciated. And may you continue in giving your honest feedback.
I recognise the sector has weathered adversity in the past, but none has proved to be greater than the COVID-19 pandemic. Economic activity in the sector as a whole fell by 28% last year, before recovering to being down 14%.
Although members have adapted to new and innovative ways of delivering their services and supported their clients and customers through this adversity, the sector has nevertheless suffered. However, through the determination and tenacity demonstrated by businesses and employees, coupled with the success of the government’s vaccination programme, there is reason to be optimistic.
BUILDING BACK BETTER: JOBS AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY
I want to give you the assurance that we in Government will back businesses large and small who have been hit hard by the pandemic and whose success will be pivotal to getting our economy moving again.
Our Plan for Growth will ensure that we build back better after the pandemic. It will take a transformational approach, tackling long-term problems to deliver growth that creates high-quality jobs across the UK. As well as addressing the immediate challenges of the pandemic, the Government is acting now to lay the foundations for a recovery driven by the private sector that spreads investment and opportunity throughout the UK.
Creating opportunities to improve skills is critical to ensuring a strong recovery from the impacts of the pandemic, particularly for young people who have lost out on precious learning and employment opportunities.
Levelling up is at the heart of the Government’s agenda to build back better – creating quality new jobs, boosting training and growing productivity in places that have faced acute economic challenges and the loss of traditional industry. This will not be a one-size-fits-all approach, but will look to nurture different types of economic growth and build on the different strengths that different places have. The Government will publish a landmark Levelling Up White Paper later this year, setting out bold new policy interventions to improve livelihoods and opportunity in all parts of the UK. It will grasp the opportunities of our global post Brexit position and set out the next steps in our plan to enable more people to get on in life, without feeling they have to leave their local area.
BUILDING BACK GREENER: BUILDING A CLEANER AND GREENER UK
The Prime Minister has laid out a Ten Point Plan for a green industrial revolution over the next decade. Many of you have already answered this through early adoption of the move to Zero Emission vehicles with electric or hydrogen vehicles in your rental fleets, leasing, showroom or auction offerings or reducing your own carbon footprint or signing up to pledges like the Race to Zero.
We want to support your activities to achieve that behavioural change towards zero emission vehicles seamlessly and with ease. Your innovation in offering electric and hydrogen vehicles for rent and lease, car clubs, subscription services and trialling vehicles before committing to purchase are examples of the private sector taking ownership of tackling societal change. Change is not easy to leverage in, but you have found ways to make it easier by allowing customers to try before they commit.
The scene is set for recovery and growth. Together, we can ensure the continued success of the sector throughout the UK. I therefore look forward to continuing our relationship through the tireless activities of the BVRLA.