Car dealers hope for help in Autumn Statement

UK MOTOR dealers are calling for support ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement — and six in ten say they’re battling rising costs.

A study of 150 dealers found that more than half want to see a reduction in business rates, and a quarter want to see better charging-point infrastructure for EVs. A fifth want more incentives to stock EVs in the first place.

More than three quarters of those canvassed say the ongoing cost-of-living crisis will be the biggest challenge.

Lisa Watson, director of Sales at Close Brothers Motor Finance, said rising costs affected consumers and businesses alike. “Demand is constrained and prices have no scope to fall,” she said. “A cut in business rates would provide much needed relief for dealers still recovering from several years of uncertainly.”

That uncertainty had created ongoing issues, from trying to navigate high costs from stock prices to taxes and bills, she said. “The motor industry is vital to the economy and dealers play a major role, so giving them some support should be at the front and centre of the government’s plans.”

The latest inflation announcement and its effect on the Autumn Statement should be positive for business, says Mike Randall, CEO of Simply Asset Finance.

“It’s good news for businesses as inflation stays true to predictions with a drastic drop,” he said, “which will come as welcome relief.”

But supply-chain and operational costs rank at the top of small business concerns, he added. The Autumn Statement must look “beyond tackling inflation” and address secondary challenges to allow businesses to focus on enhancing productivity and investment in technology.

“As lenders, the time for action is now,” he said.