LKQ champions rights of the industry

LKQ champions rights of the industry

With the general election just weeks away, LKQ UK & Ireland CEO has shared his key asks of the future Transport Secretary, to champion the rights of independent operators.

Kevan Wooden said: “As we’ve seen over the last few years, things like block exemption and MOT reform could have severely disrupted the industry if the sector hadn’t come together to keep its political advocacy both loud and proactive.”

Kevan has said his own views fall broadly into two camps, the first being the rights to repair and connect. He explained: “The UK’s new block exemption regulations were a huge win for the industry. But the pace at which vehicles continue to evolve means we need to enshrine the principles of open access for the independent aftermarket permanently into British laws.

“We also need political support for a framework in which the aftermarket and OEMs can collaborate to create a supply chain for the repair of electric vehicle batteries. This should help to stem the tide of unnecessary vehicle write-offs and waste that’s damaging the residual value of BEVs.”

The need to support small businesses is said to be another priority for the LKQ CEO. He stated: “SMEs are the backbone of the independent aftermarket so like many small businesses they are disproportionately affected by business rates, energy costs – where garages and bodyshops especially are big users – and the cost of disposing of waste.

“And the pace of change in the automotive sector means the aftermarket’s SMEs are particularly exposed to the challenges of technological change and a skills crisis.

“To support their need to invest in new equipment, such as to service ADAS vehicles as might be required in future MOT tests, as well as training, they need greater incentives through tax breaks to support the outlay required.

“We also need to look at the Apprenticeship Levy, which now does more harm than good, especially to larger garages. Most alarmingly, since its introduction in 2017 the number of apprentices starting in SMEs has plummeted by 49%.”

LKQ UK & Ireland is inviting its partners, customers and experts from across the industry to share their thoughts ahead of preparing a list of key asks to put in front of the new Transport Secretary later this summer, to help the aftermarket meet its full potential in terms of employment, skills, consumer choice, safety and sustainability.

Kevan concluded: “As an industry of some 30,000 businesses, employing 300,000 people across every region of the UK, the aftermarket should be listened to and supported.  We intend to make sure whoever triumphs in the general election gets the message.”

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