Automotive industry comments on new Labour government

Focus largely on net-zero and zero-emission vehicles

Automotive industry comments on new Labour government

It’s now been a week since Labour ousted the Tories in the early general election, but what will it all mean for the automotive industry?

We’ve pulled together commentary from some of the biggest players to see what they hope the future under Labour will bring.

The Independent Garage Association (IGA)

The Independent Garage Association (IGA) extends congratulations to the Labour Party on their recent election victory. We look forward to engaging with Sir Keir Starmer and his team to support the independent garage sector. As we move forward, the IGA is eager to discuss with the Labour government the strategic actions and policies that will support and enhance our industry.

Key areas of focus include attracting new talent and addressing the unique challenges faced by the automotive industry in terms of apprenticeships. The sustainability and growth of the independent garage sector depend on the ability of the sector to attract and retain skilled professionals.

As the industry evolves with new innovations, it is essential for independent garages to adopt these technologies to meet the growing demand for the repair and maintenance of zero-emission vehicles. We are eager for initiatives that provide garages with the tools and knowledge needed to embrace these advancements, in line with the government’s zero-emission vehicle mandate, which became law on January 3rd, 2024.

Stuart James, IGA Chief Executive, noted the importance of tailored government policies to address the decline in automotive apprenticeship registrations.

“The independent garage sector is vital to the economy, managing 70% of the UK’s vehicle service and maintenance work. It is essential that apprenticeship policies take into account the unique challenges and opportunities this sector faces as automotive technology advances more rapidly than ever before.”

The IGA is committed to working collaboratively with the Labour government to address these critical issues. Through partnership and open dialogue, we aim to achieve significant advancements for the independent garage sector. Once again, congratulations to Sir Keir Starmer and the Labour Party. We anticipate productive discussions and a strong relationship moving forward.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT)

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said:

“We congratulate Sir Keir Starmer and the Labour Party on their election success. The new government’s commitment to an industrial strategy and its already published Automotive Sector Plan can boost manufacturing competitiveness, enhance trade relations and support consumers. The industry is fundamental to the achievement of net zero which, with the right conditions, will deliver the growth the economy needs. We now look to continue our productive partnership with government to ensure the long-term success of the sector and all those who depend on it for their mobility, services and livelihoods.”

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF)

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) will press the new Labour government on protecting the rights of motorists and freedoms for businesses in the independent automotive aftermarket.

The new government has set out plans in the past year to accelerate the country’s drive towards net zero and to become a leader in battery manufacturing for electric vehicles. But, the independent aftermarket is the servicing and repair choice for 76 percent of the 34 million vehicles on UK roads and IAAF will press to ensure this is protected.

Mark Field, IAAF chief executive, said: “The new government inherits old problems such as cost of living crisis and rising costs. It will be important that the government takes into account the current state of play and how millions of motorists rely on businesses in the aftermarket to ensure their mobility needs are met. We look forward to engaging with the government on a wide ranging number of topics.”

From the Editor

It’s clear that inconsistent messaging from the outgoing government has not only put manufacturing here in the UK into turmoil, but it’s also exhausted would-be car buyers, with demand for EVs waining. And with a lack of government financial support to spur on this shift, it looks to stay that way for the foreseeable.

Will Labour provide stability? Who knows, but there needs to be a clear stance that’s stuck to, especially regarding EV policy, with the recent rumour of reversing the 2035 ICE ban only fuelling speculation. The cards must be put on the table ASAP – and glued to it.

And while we’re on the subject, if 80% of vehicles are meant to be EV by 2030, what’s going to happen to the last 20%? Again, clarity is key for the future of garages, motorists and the industry alike.

Will they get a grip on pothole repairs rather than wringing the motorist for every penny and the funds being diverted into different coffers – only time will tell.

But after the last few years of U-turn policies and indirection, like them or loathe them, a breath of fresh air in power is surely what’s needed.

1 Comment

  1. Do you think there is any possibility of a long over due increase in the MOT fee being discussed


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