Hamilton issues Truss administration with six-point plan

Andy Hamilton, the CEO of LKQ Euro Car Parts, has issued Liz Truss’s new administration with a six-point policy wish-list for the independent aftermarket, as assumes control of the economy this week.

He said: “The UK’s SMEs are facing a cost-of-doing-business crisis. They need support and the economy needs a new plan.

“Clearly, this needs to be fiscally responsible to avoid worsening the state of our public finances. The focus should be on support that boosts growth to mitigate any impact on the UK’s debt burden.”

Hamilton’s three points for macroeconomic support are include reduced business rates or extended reliefs.

He said: “These are a major cost to garages whose premises are often based in high value, central locations. Liz Truss needs to widen out the small business relief bracket by increasing the rateable value threshold to £25,000, in line with the FSB’s demands, and to provide holidays to firms struggling with rising costs.”

He also called for support with the cost of energy, pointing out Ofgem’s price cap will not apply to small businesses.

“Any garages that negotiated a two-year fixed price contract in 2020 will face a four-fold increase next month, and those on annual contracts will see bills double. Small garages are big energy users relative to their size, so they need support in much the same way as major industrial users do in sectors like manufacturing. The British Chambers of Commerce’s energy grant idea has real merit.”

Hamilton also said that there should be tax cuts on learning and investment to support the industry update skills in line with new technologies.

Meanwhile, his final three points covered challenges unique to the aftermarket.

He said the government must drop proposals to lengthen MOT periods, update and expand Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulations to protect consumers from exploitation and defend garages’ right to trade, and bring forward legislation to support EV battery recycling.

Hamilton said: “Silos are also emerging in the world of electric vehicle batteries, preventing the creation of a secondary market for their refit and refurbishment. Without legislating to break down barriers, we risk undermining the environmental gains made by the transition away from internal combustion engines, by sending batteries to landfill and fuelling ever more intensive mining activities in countries without adequate environmental or labour standards.”