NEWS: 01/12/2020 - £25 million apprenticeship support   |   30/11/2020 - Business Support and Recovery Webinar – Q&A with Fiona Hyslop MSP   |   26/11/2020 - British engine production declines by a fifth in October   |   26/11/2020 - UK commercial vehicle production down -25.6% in October   |   25/11/2020 - HMRC - Important – deadlines you need to be aware of for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme   |              UPCOMING EVENTS: No Events Scheduled
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LATEST NEWS

£25 million apprenticeship support
01 Dec 2020

Creating opportunities for every young person in Scotland.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced two new incentives to increase apprenticeships and create opportunities for young people.

Recognising the challenging circumstances for employers as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19), and the impact on opportunities for young people, more businesses will be able to access financial support to help them take on young people through the new £15 million Apprenticeship Employer Grant.

Supporting the Scottish Government’s aim of maximising apprenticeship opportunities in the coming months, the grant will help increase the number of employers able to take on an apprentice or upskill an existing staff member.

The grant will provide:  

  • £5,000 for employers taking on or upskilling a 16 to 24-year old apprentice, and for those aged up to 29 years who are disabled, care leavers and Minority Ethnic
  • £3,500 for employers taking on or upskilling an apprentice aged 25 plus

Young people will have the chance to train and get qualifications thanks to another new initiative, also launched today in response to the pandemic.

Part of the £60 million Young Person’s Guarantee, Pathway Apprenticeships will provide a new route into the workplace.

Created for school-leavers up to 18-years-old who might be facing fewer options due to the economic impact of COVID-19, around 1,200 opportunities will be available to young people in the first phase.

These new initiatives are in addition to support for apprentices who have been made redundant as a result of the pandemic through the Scottish Government’s £10 million Adopt an Apprentice scheme.

The First Minister said: “This pandemic has hit us hard – especially our young people who are facing fewer opportunities. We must help this generation who have been caught so cruelly in the eye of the COVID-19 storm.

“To do that we’ve established the £60 million Young Person’s Guarantee. It aims to give everyone aged 16-24 the opportunity of work, education or training. As part of that, our Pathway Apprenticeships programme will provide work-based training which will start by helping 1,200 young people gain key skills in sectors like construction, business, IT, engineering and early years education.

“We will also invest £15 million to help more employers take on an apprentice. Businesses want to give young people opportunities, but for many the impact of the pandemic will make the costs hard to meet. So we’ll pay employers up to £5,000 for every new modern apprentice they take on.

 “These are the kind of measures we are taking, working alongside business and trade unions, as part of a national mission to create jobs as we recover from COVID-19. It is essential that young people, who will make up our future workforce, have the opportunity through apprenticeships to build their confidence, gain industry insight and develop valuable skills that employers require.”

Chair of Skills Development Scotland Frank Mitchell said: “Scottish Government’s support underlines the commitment to apprenticeships and their crucial role in economic recovery.   “Additional funding for employers to recruit apprentices means sustaining vital opportunities for people to work, learn and earn, while ensuring businesses have the critical skills they need.  

“Pathway Apprenticeships will support the future employment prospects of Scotland’s young people and offset the rising levels of youth unemployment caused by the economic impact of COVID-19.”

Background:  

£10 million for apprentices was announced by Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop in August. This included Adopt and Apprentice.

The £15 million Apprenticeship Employer Grant funding will be available for eligible employers where the apprenticeship start date was on or after 1st December 2020.

Funding will be available for starts until 25th March 2020 or until funding levels are exceeded, whichever comes first.

The application process for the Apprenticeship Employer Grant will open from the beginning of January.  

Pathways Apprenticeships will offer 26 weeks of training with a £100 weekly allowance. This can be extended for participants who are disabled or care experienced.  

In response to the impact the pandemic has had on all aspects of the economy, education and society, with young people being disproportionally affected, Skills Development Scotland has launched a national campaign encouraging employers to retain and recruit apprentices.  

The campaign aims to demonstrate that apprenticeships are a proven way for employers to develop talent and gain real business benefits and can be part of the solution to provide employers with the skills they need to adapt, sustain and strengthen their business.  

  



Business Support and Recovery Webinar – Q&A with Fiona Hyslop MSP
30 Nov 2020

Join Business Gateway for a Q&A on Scotland’s plans to rebuild a sustainable & wellbeing economy with enhanced digital capability.

Essential Info

9th December 2020

13:15 - 14:00

Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll & Bute, Ayrshire, Clackmannanshire, Dumfries & Galloway, Dundee, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, Lanarkshire, Midlothian, Moray, National, Orkney, Perth & Kinross, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, Shetland, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian

Webinar

Digital Marketing, Business Development, Starting Up, COVID-19.

BOOK HERE



British engine production declines by a fifth in October
26 Nov 2020

  • 197,374 UK engines built in October as output declines by -20.1%.
  • Production for domestic and overseas markets falls -25.2% and -16.4% respectively.
  • Year-to-date output remains down -30.1% as sector faces triple whammy of coronavirus, Brexit and 2030 end of sale date.

 

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Another month of decline in UK engine production is extremely worrying. Manufacturers, who have already spent significant sums on responding to the pandemic and preparing for Brexit, must now contend with an end of sale date for internal combustion engines in under a decade. We must ensure that in the transition to electrification our skilled engine making workforce is not left behind. That’s why we need to see a new and comprehensive industrial strategy introduced in 2021, starting with the delivery of the Automotive Transformation Fund, to ensure the UK remains a competitive place to produce ultra-low and zero emission cars and powertrains.”

Courtesy SMMT, read the full article here



UK commercial vehicle production down -25.6% in October
26 Nov 2020

  • UK commercial vehicle production falls by -25.6% as 6,761 units leave factory gates in October. 
  • Production both for overseas and domestic markets in double digit decline as dual impact of Covid-19 and risk of ‘no deal’ Brexit bring down operator confidence. 
  • Shortfall of 11,256 commercial vehicles in first 10 months pulls year-to-date performance down -18.1%.

Thursday 26 November 2020 UK commercial vehicle (CV) production decreased by -25.6% in October, with 6,761 units manufactured, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Output for both overseas and domestic markets declined, by -21.1% and -30.4% respectively, as worries over recovery post-pandemic were compounded by the looming threat of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

Factories turned out 2,326 fewer buses, coaches, vans, trucks and taxis than in the same month in 2019, as output for the domestic market fell for the first time since May, in spite of the wider CV and logistics sectors working double-time to keep the country moving throughout the pandemic. The number of units manufactured for export also decreased -21.1%, making up 54.5% of total production in the month.  

Performance in the year to date remains down, falling by -18.1% overall, with a shortfall of 11,256 units in the first 10 months of the year. All told, just over 50,000 new commercial vehicles have been made in Britain this year.

Meanwhile October saw only 76 buses built in Britain, down -34.5%. The impact of social distancing continued to affect operator confidence, with bus production now down -52.9% in the year to date. This week's government pledge to deliver the first 800 new zero emission buses by the end of this financial year, as part of the Prime Minister’s commitment in early 2020 to fund 4,000 of these vehicles, should offer some relief for the struggling bus manufacturing sector.

Read the full article from SMMT  here



HMRC - Important – deadlines you need to be aware of for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
25 Nov 2020

Update from HMRC:

The CJRS has been extended to 31‌‌‌ ‌March 2021 for all parts of the UK. From 1‌‌‌ ‌November, the UK Government will pay 80% of employees’ usual wages for the hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. The government will review the terms of the scheme in January.

You and your employees do not need to have benefited from the scheme before to claim for periods from 1‌‌‌ ‌November.

What you need to do now

  • Submit any claims for periods up to 31‌‌‌ ‌October on or before 30‌‌‌ ‌November – they will not be accepted after this date. Claims are subject to eligibility and the rules in force at the time.
  • Submit any claims for November, no later than 14‌‌‌ ‌‌December. You can claim before, during or after you process your payroll as long as your claim is submitted by the deadline.
  • Keep any records that support the amount of CJRS grant you claim, in case HMRC needs to check them. You can view, print or download copies of your previously submitted claims by logging onto your CJRS service on GOV‌.UK.

For claim periods from 1‌‌‌ ‌December, you cannot claim CJRS grants for any days that your employee is serving a contractual or statutory notice period, including notice of retirement or resignation.

You can check if you’re eligible, and work out how much you can claim using our CJRS calculator and examples, by searching 'Job Retention Scheme' on GOV‌.UK.

Claims deadlines

There are now monthly deadlines for claims. Claims for periods starting on or after 1‌‌‌ ‌November must be submitted within 14 calendar days after the month they relate to, unless this falls on a weekend in which case the deadline is the next weekday. Your deadline to make claims for employees furloughed in November is Monday 14‌‌‌ ‌December.

Publishing employers’ information

HMRC will publish the names, an indication of the value of claims and Company Registration Numbers of employers who make CJRS claims for periods from December onwards. We'll write to you again with details of when this information will be published.

For claim periods from December, your employees will also be able to check if you have made a CJRS claim on their behalf through their online Personal Tax Account. To set up a Personal Tax Account go to GOV‌.UK and search 'Personal Tax Account: sign in or set up'.



Drive home Brexit deal for Christmas or risk £55bn manufacturing hit, warns UK auto sector
24 Nov 2020

SMMT News Release:

  • UK Automotive warns of Brexit tariff damage as new figures reveal ‘no deal’ would cut vehicle production by two million over next five years.
  • WTO tariffs would strike £55.4bn blow to UK sector by 2025 with annual production falling below one million units consistently.
  • Brexit deal must work for automotive to sustain competitiveness, help drive green recovery and jobs and keep the UK at forefront of global decarbonisation agenda.
  • UK sector comes together at special online event as SMMT calls on government to keep car showrooms open, agree a Brexit deal and ‘build back together’ after coronavirus crisis

Tuesday 24 November, 2020 As Brexit talks enter the final stretch, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) today made a last call for negotiators on both sides to keep the health of automotive at the heart of discussions and stretch every sinew to get a deal in place by Christmas that avoids tariffs, or risk damaging one of Europe’s most valuable manufacturing industries.

The entire European sector, including the UK,  has already lost €100 billion to the pandemic and has repeatedly called on EU and UK leaders to ensure the sector will not face further damage from the imposition of tariffs from 1 January 2021, which would deliver another €110 billion blow to manufacturers on both sides of the Channel.

For the UK industry alone, new figures reveal that production losses could cost as much as £55.4 billion over the next five years if the sector was forced to trade on WTO conditions long-term.2 Even with a so-called ‘bare-bones’ trade deal agreed, the cost to industry would be some £14.1 billion,2 reinforcing how, for the automotive sector, Brexit has always been an exercise in damage limitation. With scant time left for businesses to prepare for new trading terms, the sooner a deal is done and detail communicated, the less harmful it will be for the sector and its workers.

Addressing an audience of industry executives, politicians and global media at SMMT 2020 Update Live, an online event held on the day the 104th SMMT Annual Dinner would have taken place, SMMT President and Executive Chairman HORIBA MIRA Dr George Gillespie OBE, said, “We need a future trading relationship that works for automotive. We’ve already spent nigh on a billion pounds preparing for the unknown of Brexit and lost twenty-eight times that to Covid.3 Let us not also be left counting the cost of tariffs, especially not by accident.”

Dr Gillespie continued, “Industry can deliver the jobs growth we need and help rebuild a devasted economy, but government must work with us to create the environment for this success. That starts with a favourable Brexit deal and a bold strategy to help transform automotive production in the UK, attract new investment, upskill our workforce and build world-leading battery capability to future-proof our manufacturing. When Covid lifts, we need to be ready; ready to support government to engineer an economic – and green – recovery.”

As well as affecting livelihoods in all regions of the country, ‘no deal’ would have a severe impact on the sector’s ability to develop and manufacture the next generation of zero emission cars and vans, as well as holding back market uptake of these vehicles at a critical time with a new ICE end of sale date just nine years away.

SMMT Chief Executive, Mike Hawes, said, “The government’s plan for a green industrial revolution is an immense challenge – for automotive, the energy sector, consumers and for government itself. We are already on the way, transforming an industry built on the combustion engine to one built on electrification. But to complete the job in under a decade is no easy task. And with showrooms closed, choking factories of orders, the ability of the sector to invest further is severely constrained. Automotive is nothing if not determined, adaptable and resilient, yet, as the clock ticks ever closer to midnight on Brexit negotiations, the competitiveness and employment we need get back to growth – green growth – hangs in the balance.”

WTO tariffs would add an average £2,000 to the cost of British-built electric cars sold in the EU, making UK plants considerably less competitive and undermining Britain’s attractiveness as a destination for inward investment, at the precise moment when building domestic battery manufacturing capability via ‘gigafactories’ and an electrified supply chain is essential. Meanwhile, these tariffs would mean a £2,800 hike per EU-built vehicle for UK consumers, all but cancelling out the current £3,000 plug-in car grant.

UK Automotive is one of the country’s most valuable economic assets, supporting some 180,000 often high-skilled and high-paid manufacturing jobs in communities across every nation and region of the UK, including those regions hit hardest by the economic impact of the pandemic. The sector is worth some £78.9 billion, exporting more goods than any other UK industry and providing an annual £15.3 billion in added value every year to the UK economy, while investing £3.72 billion in R&D.

Courtesy www.smmt.co.uk




Scottish Government Marketing Update: Covid Protection Levels Campaign
24 Nov 2020

The Scottish Government’s Covid Protection Levels campaign has been updated to reflect the new travel regulations for Levels 3 and 4 - these came into force on Friday 20th November at 6pm.

 

Download your Stakeholder Toolkit here
 

 



Auction firm Manheim is still undecided on whether to ever open its physical auction halls again
19 Nov 2020

Cox Automotive International president Martin Forbes – the firm behind Manheim – says the company is still undecided about whether it will ever reopen auction halls.

The company has been operating purely online since the pandemic with 100 per cent of transactions taking place on its website.

Forbes says in an ‘ideal world’ they would never go back to physical auction halls, but he is conscious of making sure the company offers what customers want.

He added: ‘We see the benefits and efficiencies for our business of not having to run a car through a physical auction hall. 

‘I personally think that if we have to go back to physical auction halls and not embrace some of this change, then we would let a good crisis go to waste.

‘What we have to do is keep getting better at running a digital proposition to make sure our customers, our buyers and our vendors are getting an even better experience through digital. 

‘We’re still going through that and we will continue to work on that in 2021, 2022 and beyond.’

The Cox Automotive Market Insight Report for 2020 has been launched today. View it here.

Read the full article here at Car Dealer Magazine https://bit.ly/2IH1RdH



Coronavirus (COVID-19): Tier 4 Q&A
18 Nov 2020

Q: Which businesses can stay open in Level 4?

A: The businesses which must close at Level 4 are set out in law. Those that can remain open are:  

·        food retailers, including food markets, supermarkets, convenience stores and corner shops

·        off-licences and licensed shops selling alcohol (including breweries)

·        pharmacies (including non-dispensing pharmacies) and chemists

·        newsagents

·        homeware, building supplies and hardware stores

·        petrol stations

·        car repair and MOT services

·        bicycle shops

·        taxi or vehicle hire businesses

·        banks, building societies, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs, cash points and undertakings which by way of  business operate a currency exchange office, transmit money (or any representation of money) by any means or cash cheques which are made payable to customers

·        post offices

·        funeral directors

·        laundrettes and dry cleaners

·        dental services, opticians, audiology services, chiropody services, chiropractors, osteopaths and other medical or health services, including services relating to mental health

·        veterinary surgeons and pet shops

·        agricultural supplies shops and agricultural markets

·        storage and distribution facilities, including delivery drop off or collection points, where the facilities are in the premises of a business included in this sub-paragraph

·        car parks

·        public toilets

·        livestock markets or auctions

·        garden centres, plant nurseries, outdoor markets, and outdoor car lots

Businesses which are allowed to stay open will be expected to follow all other legal requirements, rules and guidance.

Q: My business isn’t in the list above – do I have to close in Level 4?

A: Yes. For retailers which have been defined as non-essential – i.e. not on the list of essential businesses above - the legal position is that they will need to close in Level 4. Any decision to move an area into level 4 will only be made if absolutely necessary as a short, sharp intervention to address very high transmission rates. Most retail is permitted in levels 0-3, with mobile close contact being limited to  levels 0-1. Mobile hairdressing only can operate in levels 2-3

Q: If I am in the non-essential category, can I still trade online? What about Click and Collect?

A: Yes – shops and retail businesses that close in Level 4 can continue to make deliveries or provide a collection service to fulfil orders received online, by phone, text or post. 

Q: What is 'outdoor retail'?

Sales which happen in outdoor spaces, such as outdoor markets, livestock markets, farmers markets, car auction lots, garden centres and plant nurseries.

Q: Are there any restriction to shopping hours?

A: There are no current plans to restrict shopping hours.

Q: How have you engaged with business around this?

A: We have been engaging with retail sector representatives and business organisations to understand their concerns and will continue to do so.

Q: What are you closing in Level 4?

A: Level 4 is broadly similar to full lockdown where the priority will be to reduce movement as far as possible to address high transmission rates and this will necessitate closing non-essential retail. Essential retail will be able to remain open in Level 4. All retailers will be able to continue online shopping, click and collect services and outdoor retail will also be able to operate in all levels.

Q: How will shutting shops reduce the spread of the virus?

A: In moving to Level 4 we would expect to see very high or rapidly increasing incidence of the spread of COVID–19 and widespread community transmission which may pose a threat to the NHS. The priority in level 4 is to reduce movement of people so that we can reduce transmission of the virus. Shopping is an area which can attract a lot of people, many of whom travel to shops, including on public transport. By shutting non-essential shops, we limit the spaces where people are exposed to others in enclosed spaces for prolonged periods. Measures would be designed to be in place for a short period, to provide a short, sharp response to quickly suppress the virus. It is likely that this level would see the introduction of measures close to a return to full lockdown.

Q: Will people have to queue to get into a store?

A: Possibly, yes. Closing some parts of the high street can mean that customers will have a smaller number of stores to choose from, resulting in increasing queues / numbers. The need for businesses to maintain 2m distancing also means that fewer people can safely be inside a shop or store at any one time. Businesses will be expected to determine how many people can safely be accommodated at any one time and implement queuing and other measures to prevent overcrowding. Customers are expected to follow any measures that retailers put in place. The priority in Level 4 is to reduce movement of people so that we can reduce transmission of the virus.

Q: Will you support a campaign to get people to shop local/shop early?

A: We would encourage everyone to think about whether their journey to the shops is necessary and to walk or cycle to local stores, where that is possible. We are engaging with the Scottish Retail Consortium on how we can support this but need to take a balanced view on how to avoid the unintended consequences of potentially adding to the virus transmission rate through encouraging more people to shop at the same time.

Q: Will people be able to buy a new or used car?

A: Yes – car sales will be allowed, although businesses must put in place measures to operate safely, for workers and customers, including physical distancing and other measures in concluding transactions. Customers will be expected to adhere to these measures.

Q: Can a potential buyer take a car for a test drive before buying it?

A: Yes – but we would recommend that the same physical distancing, vehicle cleaning and ventilation measures set out in the driving lesson guidance before and after taking a test drive. 

Strategic Framework and Levels

Q: Why has this approach been introduced?

A: Our ability to control the virus requires us to restrict economic activity as part of wider efforts to minimise transmission risks, and protect lives and the NHS. This approach will provide a more transparent and easily understood framework for managing outbreaks and allow us to respond appropriately and proportionately. It means those areas with low rates of infection do not need to be under the same protective measures designed to suppress the virus in areas with much higher rates.

Businesses will want to know in advance what may happen if there’s a risk of either a rise or drop in the infection rate in their area so that they can manage staffing, deliveries, services etc. Having a strategic framework helps them plan in advance for any changes  - either up or down the levels.

Q: How will the Levels system operate?

This framework sets out on five levels of protection consisting of four levels above the Route Map Phase 3 baseline (or 'Level 0') as set out below:

Level 0 (baseline) and Level 1

We would expect to see low incidence of the virus with isolated clusters, and low community transmission. The Baseline and Level 1 are designed to be sustainable for longer periods.

All retail businesses and close contact services including mobile services will be able to operate in these levels. 

Levels 2-3

We would expect to see increased incidence of the virus, with multiple clusters and increased community transmission. The measures would be intended to be in place for relatively short periods (2-4 weeks), and only for as long as required to get the virus down to a low, sustainable level.

Retail businesses will be able to operate in Levels 2 and 3, as will close contact services that are delivered from a salon, shop or other static site, such as a home treatment room.

Mobile hairdressing and barbering can also continue in Levels 2 and 3.

All other mobile close contact services will not be able to operate in Levels 2 or 3.

Level 4

We would expect to see very high or rapidly increasing incidence, and widespread community transmission which may pose a threat to the NHS to cope. It is likely that this level would see the introduction of measures close to a return to full lockdown. Measures would be designed to be in place for a short period, to provide a short, sharp response to quickly suppress the virus.

Essential retail will be able to remain open in Level 4.

Click and collect services for essential and non-essential retail and online retail can remain open. All other non-essential retail will be expected to close. 

All close contact services – static or mobile – will be closed. 

Q: Can I travel between areas in different Levels?

A: To suppress the spread of COVID-19 it is essential that, with limited exceptions, there is no travel to or from areas where higher numbers of people may be carrying the virus. If people do not abide by the guidance on travel and transport there is a risk that the virus will spread to areas where it is less common and we may have to return to national restrictions.

Q: How often will the levels change?

A: Local areas and the levels they are in will be reviewed weekly to decide whether levels should be maintained, increased, or reduced. However, while levels will be reviewed weekly, areas are likely to move between levels less frequently than that. Once set, levels are likely to be in place for two to four weeks at least, to give time for the effect of changes to be observed in data about the virus, and to ensure that the incidence and prevalence of the virus are responding to measures put in place to suppress it. The First Minister has stated that the outcome of the weekly review will be reported on a Tuesday with any changes proposed coming into effect on a Friday.

Q: What boundaries are being used to decide where the Levels are?

A: The Levels will be assigned to each local authority area. For very large geographic areas, such as the Highlands, it may be that the levels are established by Ward area.

Q: What evidence is being used to make a decision if Levels will change?

A: Decisions will be made on the basis of advice from local Directors of Public Health and Public Health Scotland, through the National Incident Management Team, and the assessment of our own senior advisors against the four harms. We will also engage with our local authority partners prior to making decisions and on the delivery bodies we rely on to implement and oversee the measures.

Q: What are the “Four Harms”?

A: These are the impacts of COVID-19 assessed over the following areas:

1.    The virus causes direct and tragic harm to people's health.

2.    The virus has a wider impact on our health and social care services in Scotland.

3.    The restrictions which have been put in place affect our broader way of living and society.

4.    The impact on our economy, with a damaging effect on poverty and inequality.

Q: Will there be clarity on customers' personal travel between local authorities on different Levels and what it means for Click and Collect etc?

A: To suppress the spread of COVID-19 it is essential that, with limited exceptions, there is no travel to or from areas where higher numbers of people may be carrying the virus. 

If people don’t abide by the travel guidance set out here, there is a risk that the virus will spread to areas where it is less common and we may have to return to national restrictions.

Q: Are people in Level 4 areas allowed to travel to Level 3/2 to shop?       

A: The recommendation is that people in a Level 4 area do not travel outside their local authority area unless for work or if it is absolutely necessary.

Q: Can distribution centres remain open to services online and Click and Collect shopping as well as deliveries?

A: Yes.

Q: Will deliveries of large items such as furniture or white goods still be permitted?             

A: Yes. There’s more information on this in the general guidance for safer workplaces.

Q: Is the installation of goods such as washing machines permitted?

A: Yes – this is also covered in the  general guidance for safer workplaces


Business support

Q: What support will there be for businesses that have to close?

A: Details of support for businesses facing closure or restrictions will be published shortly. Information on current support is available on the Find Business Support website or on the UK Government’s Work and Financial Support pages.

Close contact services - face coverings

Q: Do my clients/customers need to wear a face covering?

A: Yes, under Schedule 7 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 any person including staff and clients/customers must wear a face covering in a location used for the retail sale of goods or services – including shops and salons. Practitioners and clients/customers are encouraged to refer to current Scottish Government face-covering guidance for further information.

Q: As a business owner/third sector organisation do I need to enforce this law on my clients/customers?

A: Where face coverings are required, people responsible for relevant premises should take reasonable steps to promote compliance with the law.

If necessary, the police have enforcement powers including issuing fines of £60 (halving to £30 if paid within 28 days) if members of the public do not comply with this law.

Q:  If staff wear a visor do I need a face covering too?

A: Face shields/visors do not constitute an adequate face covering for the purposes of meeting your obligation under Schedule 7 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 Face shields or visors may be used, but only if they are worn in addition to an adequate face covering, as the evidence shows that they do not provide adequate protection. However, if you are unable to wear a face covering due to an exemption, a face visor or face shield can be worn as it does provide a limited level of protection.

Q: Who is exempt from wearing a face covering in a retail setting e.g. a shop?

A:  Those who are exempt from wearing a face covering. These include:

·        a child who is under the age of 5

·        a constable acting in the course of their duty

·        an emergency responder (other than a constable) acting in their capacity as an emergency responder

Read the full list of exemptions

Q: Can services still be provided if the practitioner or customer/client is exempt from wearing a face-covering?

A: We have published guidance on the public use of face coverings and for the retail sector.

Organisations have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments for disabled persons. The Equality and Human Rights Commission website includes guidance on using a service: reasonable adjustments for disabled people and retailers’ legal responsibility to disabled customers, and you can contact the Commission for further advice.

Close contact services - physical distancing

Q: How does physical distancing impact close contact services?

A:  Regulations allow for physical distancing of at least 2m “so far as reasonably practicable’. As close contact services cannot be provided from a 2m distance, these services can continue to take place (provided  your business operates in a Level that allows you to open.)

Where possible, 2m should be maintained in order to reduce the contact between individuals on site, for example, clients/customers should be at least 2m from one another when on the premises.

Q: Do I need screens between treatment areas/chairs?

A: 2 metre physical distancing is the legal minimum physical distance between persons without a partition. If 2m cannot be guaranteed then screens should be used to ensure physical distancing is maintained.

Q: Can I use all the chairs in my barber’s shop/salon if they are spaced at 1m from one another?

A: It is recommended that chairs be spaced at distances of at least 2m from one another. Where this cannot be achieved it may be possible, with additional controls, to have chairs located at a reduced distance. Remember there must be at least 2m physical distancing between persons. If this cannot be guaranteed screens/barriers should be put in place.

Q: I’m delivering mobile close contact services – where can I do that?

A. Mobile close contact services can be delivered in a customer/clients home or in any other place where the client/customer may have requested the treatment, such as a community facility or a hotel.  Practitioners should only see one client/customer at a time and ensure appropriate hygiene and physical distancing measures are taken to manage risks of working in an external environment. Practitioners  can find more information on risk assessments when working in other people’s homes on the Healthy Working Lives website.

We have published guidance for delivering mobile close contact services and practitioners should refer to it for further information

Q: How do I increase the ventilation in my business?

A: Advice on ventilation is provided by HSE

Close contact services - Test and Protect

Q. Do I need to record customer details?

A. Yes – clients/customers details should be collected either through a booking system or manually on the day of the appointment.

The gathering of contact information in a secure and safe manner from clients/customers or visitors to premises, will assist NHS Scotland's Test and Protect service to identify and contact individuals who may have been exposed to the virus, and request them to take appropriate steps to prevent the potential onward spread of the virus. The data will also be helpful to the NHS and key local partners to manage and contain location-specific outbreaks.

Q. Do I have to use the Protect Scotland app?

A: Protect Scotland is not a requirement – however it is important that we all download and use the app to help stop the spread of coronavirus. We know the more of us that do, the more effective it will be. We encourage all businesses, staff, practitioners, and their customers to download the Protect Scotland app.

Q: How long do I need to keep client/customer details on file for Test and Protect / contact tracing purposes?

A: Client/customer details should be retained for 21 days. Where details are to be retained electronically a business needs to be registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office. The ICO has produced specific guidance on this for businesses.

Q: What details should I be keeping for clients/customers?

A: As a minimum you should be retaining the clients/customer’s name and contact number or email address along with the name of the individual who provided treatment

Where possible, it is recommended that you note the room/location or chair that the client/customer occupied during the treatment. The more specific information that you can record about a treatment, the greater the benefit in the event that Test and Protect need to trace individuals. This could also protect the continuity of your business/third sector organisations/practitioners by limiting the number of staff/people having to self-isolate.

Close contact services - appointments

Q: Can I allow clients/customers to use the toilet on the premises?

A: Toilets can continue to be used in a managed way and provided that hand contact surfaces are cleaned between uses. It is also recommended that, where possible, the frequency at which mechanical ventilation operates within toilet facilities be increased. It is important to remember that some clients/customers may require to use the facilities for medical reasons.

Q: Can I offer clients/customers a cup of tea whilst on the premises? 

A. No drinks should be offered to clients/customers when in the salon. Clients/customers may bring their own drinks with them if needed and may temporarily remove a face covering to drink from their own container, maintaining a 2 distance from others where possible.

Q: Can I still use the waiting room as normal for clients/customers that turn up early?

A: It is not recommended that the waiting room be used unless it is possible for clients/customers to maintain the required distance. It is strongly recommended that clients/customers be encouraged to arrive at the time of their appointment and no earlier. Where an early arrival occurs, clients/customers should be asked to wait in their car or outside if it is not possible for them to maintain the required distance within the premises.

Where a waiting room is used procedures will require to be in place for the regular cleaning of hand contact surfaces such as arms of chairs, tables etc.

For close contact services operating in Level 3, additional protective measures to further inhibit the virus and enhance the safety of practitioners and customers/clients should be considered. Types of additional protective measures can include eliminating the waiting area outright.

Q: Do I have to remove magazines from the waiting room?

A: It is recommended that all unnecessary hand contact surfaces be removed from the premises and that clients/customers be advised to bring their own reading materials with them and take them with them when they leave.

Close contact services - treatments (including the High Risk Zone)

Q: What is the ‘high risk zone’?

A: The ‘high risk zone’ is the term used to describe the face, mainly the mouth and nose.

Q: What are acceptable control measures to allow treatments to be carried out in the high risk zone?

A: Considerations could include; minimising the time being spent working on the high-risk zone and implementing additional control measures (working from the side of the face etc.) or procedures to mitigate the increased risk. Treatments should not be performed that require the client’s/customer’s face covering to be removed.

Where additional controls cannot be implemented, treatments should not be offered.

It should be noted that if, at a later date, the client/customer is identified as a case who was infectious at the time of treatment, the individual performing the treatment will be considered a close contact and required to self-isolate regardless of the control measures implemented.

Q: In relation to treatments involving the face (high risk zone) what is the definition of “prolonged period”?

A: Health Protection Scotland has produced contact tracing guidance that contains information on close contact in non-healthcare settings. This suggests that ‘prolonged periods’ could be:

·        no amount of time: if face-to-face contact is at  1 metre or less; (i.e. in effect this should not be permitted)

·        1 minute: if contact is 1 metre or less, but does not involve face-to-face contact

 or

·        15 minutes: if contact is between 1 and 2 metres, whether or not contact is face-to-face

The limitation on the provision of any treatment is the ability to provide it from the side or behind the head. If you can provide the treatment from the side or from behind the head you should reduce the time in the high risk zone as much as possible. Treatments should not be provided in the area covered by a face covering – even if the client is exempt from wearing a face covering and that area is exposed.



Ban on new petrol and diesel cars in UK from 2030 under PM's green plan
18 Nov 2020

New cars and vans powered wholly by petrol and diesel will not be sold in the UK from 2030, Boris Johnson has said.
 
But some hybrids would still be allowed, he confirmed.
 
It is part of what the prime minister calls a "green industrial revolution" to tackle climate change and create jobs in industries such as nuclear.
 
Critics of the plan say the £4bn allocated is far too small for the scale of the challenge.
 
The total amount of new money announced in the package is a 25th of the projected £100bn cost of high-speed rail, HS2.
 
  • UK climate plan: what do the terms mean?
  • Why the UK's carbon-free future will need rules
  • Extra £40m pledged for green spaces in England
  • Shift to electric cars 'requires Herculean effort'

Read the full article here at BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54981425

Furlough Scheme - notice periods no longer covered
17 Nov 2020

On 13th November, the Treasury published its fourth Direction to HMRC on the operation of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough Scheme). This Direction sets out the formal legal rules applying to those making claims under the Furlough Scheme.
The most important clarification in the Direction is that with effect from 1 December 2020, an employer can no longer claim in respect of an employee who is serving out any sort of notice period, whether contractual or statutory. Even where notice was given prior to 1 December 2020 but will not expire until after that date, claims to HMRC in respect of that employee must cease with effect from that date.
 
The following important points should be noted:
 
Employers can place employees on flexible furlough or “full-time” furlough from 1 November 2020.

An employee doesn’t need to have been furloughed before, to be eligible for the extended period.

An agreement to furlough an employee from 1 November 2020 can only be backdated if the employee’s agreement to be on furlough was given on or before 13 November 2020.

There are now fairly tight deadlines for making claims for a grant under the scheme as follows:

Claims for the month of November 2020 must be submitted by 14 December 2020.

Claims for the month of December 2020 must be submitted by 14 January 2021.

Claims for the month of January 2021 must be submitted by 15 February 2021.

By making a claim for November, December or January, the employer now has to agree to permit HMRC to include them in a published list of employers using the extended scheme. This list may include some information about the approximate level of grants claimed.

The government will decide later whether employers will have to contribute more to furlough costs for the months of February and March 2021. At present, for the months of November, December and January, the government will cover the full 80% of employee wages that the employee must receive, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. Employers will only have to fund employer’s NI and pension contribution costs. It is possible that for February and March, HMRC might not reimburse the whole 80% of wage costs.

The Job Retention Bonus for keeping employees on payroll until February 2021 will no longer be paid. It remains to be seen if a Job Retention Bonus will be offered at a later date, once the Furlough Scheme ends.

Courtesy www.justemploymentlaw.co.uk




UK public EV charger network grows by 18%
11 Nov 2020

The number of public electric vehicle charging points in the UK increased by 18% in 2020, according to the latest data from the Department for Transport (DfT).

The Electric Vehicle Charging Device statistics for October 2020 also shows a 7% increase in available chargers in Q3 2020 alone.

Of the 19,487 public chargers now available in the UK, 3,530 are rapid chargers.

London has the highest level of charging device provision per 100,000 of population but is slightly below average in terms of rapid charging device provision.

Scotland is above average in total devices per 100,000 and has the highest level of rapid device provision.

Read the full article at www.smarttransport.org.uk https://bit.ly/3kmlq7N



Extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – Get ready to claim
11 Nov 2020

Update from HMRC:

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) guidance is now available on GOV‌.UK. To check if you’re eligible and to get ready to claim from this week, go to GOV‌.UK and search 'Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme'.

You’ll be able to apply for CJRS online from  Wednesday‌‌‌ ‌11‌‌‌‌‌‌‌ ‌November – for periods from 1 ‌November. You will need to submit any claims for November by 14‌‌ ‌December.

What’s new in the support available

CJRS has been extended to 31 ‌March 2021 for all parts of the UK. From 1 November, the UK Government will pay 80% of employees’ usual wages for the hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. This will be reviewed in January.

You and your employees do not need to have benefited from the scheme before to claim for periods from 1 November. Go to GOV‌‌‌‌.UK for the full eligibility criteria.

HMRC intends to publish details of employers who use the scheme for claim periods from December, and employees will be able to find out if their employer has claimed for them under the scheme.

There are now monthly deadlines for claims. Claims for periods starting on/after 1 November must be submitted within 14 calendar days after the month they relate to, unless this falls on a weekend in which case the deadline is the next weekday. For further details go to GOV‌‌‌‌.UK and search 'Claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme'.


The Job Retention Bonus will no longer be paid in February‌‌‌ ‌2021 and an alternative retention incentive will be put in place at the appropriate time.

The launch of the Job Support Scheme has also been postponed.


What you need to do now

Submit any claims for periods up to 31 October on or before 30‌‌‌ ‌November. Claims for periods up to 31 October will not be accepted after 30‌‌‌ ‌November. Claims are subject to eligibility and the rules in force at the time. Search 'Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' on GOV‌‌‌‌.UK for full eligibility criteria.

What you need to do for your claims – for periods from 1 November

Read the new guidance – go to GOV‌‌‌‌.UK and search 'Extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' – to check if you and your employees are eligible.

Agree working hours with any employees you wish to furlough for November and agree any changes to their employment contract.


Work out how much you can claim for your employees using our CJRS calculator and examples. Search for 'Calculate how much you can claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' on GOV‌‌‌‌.UK.

Submit any claims for periods from 1 November no later than 14‌‌‌ ‌December.


You will need to keep any records that support the amount of CJRS grant you claim, in case HMRC needs to check them. You can view, print or download copies of your previously submitted claims by logging onto your CJRS service on GOV‌‌‌‌.UK.



UK used car market bounces back 4.4% in third quarter as more than 2 million change hands
10 Nov 2020

⦁ UK used car transactions grow 4.4% in Q3 as showrooms re-open, with 2,168,599 vehicles changing hands. 
⦁ Growth recorded in each month of the quarter, with September plate-change driving highest increase of 6.3%. 
⦁ Demand lifts across all fuel types, with biggest percentage growth enjoyed by electric vehicles after disappointing second quarter.  
⦁ Year to date transactions fall -17.5%, with some one million fewer transactions than the first nine months of 2020.
 
10 November, 2020 The UK’s used car market increased by 4.4% in Q3 after two consecutive quarters of decline, according to the latest figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). During the busiest quarter since the end of 2016, some 2,168,599 transactions took place between July and September, 92,217 more than the same period in 2019, with September recording the largest growth, up 6.3%.
 
Despite the growth, spurred by the re-opening of showrooms and easing of lockdown measures across the country, the UK’s used car market is still down with 1,070,941 fewer transactions over the first nine months representing a decline of -17.5% overall.
 
With England entering a new lockdown and the introduction of tougher restrictions and ‘firebreaks’ across the devolved nations, sales in the fourth quarter are expected to be heavily affected. The swift re-opening of used car outlets – which are generally spacious premises with outdoor areas and which can accommodate social distancing far more easily than other retail environments – would go a long way to help prevent further subdued activity in the market, enabling the latest, lowest emitting vehicles to filter through to second owners. 
 
Demand for pre-owned battery electric vehicles (BEVs), which saw a decline of -29.7% in the Q2 – albeit a lesser one than the market average of -48.9% – recovered during Q3, growing by 34.4% and 4.4% in the year to date. At the same time, sales of plug-in hybrids increased by 35.7%, with 10,040 changing hands. Petrol and diesel cars both saw an increase in sales of 4.5% and 2.6% respectively, accounting for 97.42% of all used transactions during the quarter.  
  
Superminis, despite only seeing a modest 2.0% increase during the third quarter, remained the most popular segment with 698,587 purchases, accounting for 32.0% of transactions. The lower medium was the next best seller with 27.0% of the total market share. Meanwhile, the dual-purpose segment showed the largest percentage growth (16.6%) with 13.0% market share as more of these popular vehicles entered the used market.
 
In other trends, black held its position as the number one colour among used car buyers, ahead of silver/aluminium and blue, with 56.5% of used cars sold in the third quarter clad in the top three colours. Bronze saw the biggest growth, up 16.1%, albeit representing just 5,958 of the 2.16 million cars sold in Q3 while cream/ivory decreased most significantly by -10.8%. 

Visit www.smmt.co.uk for more information


UK Auto counts £735 million cost of Brexit preparation with final plea for zero-tariff trade deal as negotiations enter endgame
10 Nov 2020

  • UK auto industry issues last plea for UK-EU negotiators to agree a zero-tariff trade deal as talks enter the final stretch.

  • New SMMT survey reveals at least £735 million cost to industry of preparing for Brexit so far, with more than £235 million spent in 2020 alone.

  • Sector doing everything in its control to prepare for the end of transition period customs and border arrangements, but lack of clarity on post-December trading still hampering efforts.

  • A disastrous ‘no deal’ outcome, or failure to achieve workable deal for auto, would mean £47 billion hit to UK sector over next five years – on top of ongoing coronavirus crisis costs.

Tuesday 10 November, 2020 The UK automotive industry today issued a last-chance plea for a zero-tariff, zero-quota trade deal that delivers for automotive as negotiations enter the endgame this week. The call comes as a new survey from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveals the cost to the sector of preparing for Brexit has surpassed £735 million, with more than £235 million spent in 2020 alone.
 
Most companies (67%) across the industry say they are doing everything in their control to prepare for new processes that will come into play on 1 January, with 70% securing GB Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) numbers, 60% spending significantly on stockpiling and 52% employing customs agents, as companies also try to prepare for any disruption or delay to supply chains.  However, significant gaps in the industry’s ability to plan still exist, with a lack of clarity on the nature of the UK-EU’s future relationship hampering the efforts of almost nine in 10 (86%) firms to prepare.
 
Critical questions remain unanswered. With the industry’s competitiveness built on Just-in-Time deliveries, companies cannot afford any supply chain delays so clarity on the operation of key new customs systems such as the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) and the Permission to Progress (P2P) process, is vital. Moreover, even if the UK and EU do conclude a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) from the end of 2020, there is uncertainty as to how companies will prove origin or products; if firms cannot do this then they will not be able to benefit from preferential trading terms.
 
No amount of preparation can mitigate the devastating impact of ‘no deal’, with this outcome – or even an unworkable deal – costing the UK automotive sector up to £47 billion in lost trade in cars and vans alone over the next five years. The industry must have a deal, and one that delivers zero tariff, zero quota trade with highly ambitious rules of origin provisions and a phase-in period that allow businesses time to adjust. Failure to achieve these requirements would, for the auto sector, be the equivalent of no deal at all, and compound the impact of the coronavirus crisis – itself already costing the UK sector some £27.5 billion in lost car production and sales.
 
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “As the UK-EU FTA negotiations enter the endgame, now is the time for both sides to deliver on promises to safeguard the automotive industry. Securing a deal is absolutely critical but it cannot be any deal. To work for UK Automotive it must deliver for UK products and that means securing the right terms and conditions that allow our exports – now and in the future – to be zero tariff and zero quota trade. A deal that failed to achieve this would be the equivalent to no deal at all, devastating jobs and slamming the brakes on the UK’s ambitions to be a world leading manufacturer and market for electrified mobility and battery technologies.”
 
Automotive is one of the UK’s most valuable economic assets, worth some £78.9 billion, exporting more goods than any other sector, generating billions for the economy and supporting some 180,300 often high-skilled and high-paid manufacturing jobs in communities across every nation and region of the UK – in particular those regions hit hardest by the economic impact of the pandemic. The industry delivers an annual £15.3 billion in added value every year to the UK economy, while investing £3.72 billion in R&D.
 
10 UK Automotive urgent preparedness asks
 
  1. A temporary grace period for exporters of at least one year to obtain supplier declarations.

  2. Clarity on the format of the upcoming origin declarations and the necessary supporting documents and IT processes.

  3. Certainty on preferential origin formalities for export to the UK’s other FTA trading partners.

  4. Guidance on valuation and origin of used products, or ‘cores’, imported into the UK for remanufacturing purposes.

  5. Detail on the Permission to Progress (P2P) process and Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) to mitigate the risks to Just-in-Time manufacturing. If there is substantial time between a company submitting a customs declaration and receiving a P2P there is a risk the manufacturing site becomes a lorry park and production gets significantly disrupted.

  6. Draft legislation on how UK government will handle returnables/stillages/empty packaging that was committed to back in April 2020.
  7. Support in connecting with third party customs intermediaries.

  8. Extend access to the £84 million customs funding to all traders to boost their customs capacity and preparedness.
  9. Publish a full list of ports and which operating model they will use as a matter of urgency.

  10. Significantly more operational level information from government on the workings of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

To read on SMMT's website please click here www.smmt.co.uk


Scottish Government - EU Exit - Stay in Scotland
09 Nov 2020

Following decisions by the UK Government the UK has now left the EU. 


• EU citizens and their families will have to apply to the UK Government’s EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 in order to continue living, working and studying in the UK after that date.

• The Scottish Government launched the Stay in Scotland campaign in April 2019 to raise awareness of the need for EU citizens to apply to the UK Government’s EU Settlement Scheme, and to provide the necessary support to allow people to make their application.

• EU citizens who have been in the UK for five continuous years will be able to apply for settled status. EU citizens who have been in the UK less than five years can apply for presettled status. After five years continuous residency they can then apply for settled status. For further information please visit: www.mygov.scot/stayinscotland


To get the word out to all EU citizens living in Scotland you can download a Stay in Scotland Toolkit with a range of materials:

You can download your toolkit here

DVLA Trade Licence Renewal
03 Nov 2020

DVLA Update: 

Throughout the month of November reminder letters are being issued to those customers who need to renew their ‘Trade Licence plates’ which are expiring in December 2020. In previous years DVLA have only processed these applications in the month of December, this year they are inviting customers to send their renewal applications in early by using the online renewal form (VTL318). See the step by step guide (see below for link) for further information.   They will start processing these applications once they are received.

In addition they have introduced some additional temporary changes to help customers renew their Trade Licence plates during these difficult times. These changes include:

·       the introduction of GOV.UK Notify to confirm receipt of the renewal application– when customers provide a mobile number on their application form, we will send them a text message to confirm receipt of their application.

·       temporary removal of the motor insurance check – customers will not need to provide documents to evidence they have valid motor insurance for this December 2020 renewal period.


Click here for step-by-step best practice guide to help applicants renew their trade plates.



DVSA Services in England
03 Nov 2020

DVSA services in England

From Thursday 5 November, the Government is introducing new national restrictions in England to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Vehicle testing
The national restrictions do not affect our heavy vehicle testing service and ATFs can remain open.
We can continue to provide the vehicle standards assessors needed to test heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and public service vehicles (PSVs) safely.

You should only book your vehicle or trailer in for its test close to its MOT due date. This will make sure vehicles and trailers which legally need a test can get one.

You should continue to manage the regular maintenance and inspection schedule for your vehicles and trailers. This is a legal requirement under your operator’s licence.

Vocational theory tests

Vocational theory tests will be affected during the national restrictions in England.

All theory tests will be suspended from Thursday 5 November and restart on Wednesday 2 December 2020.

We are emailing everyone with a test booked in England to let them know their test has been put on hold and they will need to reschedule it at https://www.gov.uk/change-theory-test

Driver CPC courses can continue during these dates if they are delivered online. All face to face CPC courses will be suspended until Wednesday 2 December.

Enforcement Activity

We will continue our enforcement work to protect you from unsafe drivers and vehicles on our roads.

We’ll also continue to work remotely to support drivers and operators to follow guidance and legislation and, where appropriate, improve their driver and vehicle standards.

HMRC Extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
03 Nov 2020

Update from HMRC:

In light of the increased restrictions needed to curb the coronavirus pandemic, the UK government is introducing additional economic measures to support you and your employees.

Latest changes that may impact you

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which was due to end on 31‌ October, will now be extended, with the UK government paying 80% of wages for the hours furloughed employees do not work, up to a cap of £2,500 for periods from 1 November.

You will need to pay all employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions. You can choose to top up your furloughed employees’ wages beyond the 80% paid by the UK government for hours not worked, but you are not required to do so.

There will be no gap in support between the previously announced end date of CJRS and this extension.

For more information, go to GOV‌.UK and search 'furlough scheme extended'.

How will it work?

You will have flexibility to ask your employees to work on a part-time basis and furlough them for the rest of their usual working hours or furlough them full-time. You will have to cover their wages for any hours they work as well as all employer National Insurance and employer pension contributions.

You will be able to claim either shortly before, during or after running your payroll. There will be a short period initially when the online claims service will be closed while we update the system, and you will be able to claim in arrears for that period.

Further details will be provided in the next few days. Please do not call us for more information in the meantime – we will let you know via email as soon as this is available.

How to check if your employees are eligible

You can claim for employees who were on your PAYE payroll on 30‌ October 2020. You must have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20‌ March 2020 and 30‌ October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.

If employees were on your payroll on 23‌ September‌ 2020 (i.e. notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 23 September) and were made redundant or stopped working for you afterwards, they can also qualify for the scheme if you re-employ them.

Neither you nor your employee needs to have previously used the CJRS. Further details on eligibility will be provided in the next few days.

What you need to do now

  • Check if your employees are eligible for the scheme, based on the information above.
  • Agree working hours with your employees, so they know if they are furloughed fully or part-time during November.
  • Keep the records that support the amount of CJRS grant you claim, in case HMRC need to check it. You can view, print or download copies of your previously submitted claims by logging onto your CJRS service on GOV‌.UK.‌ 


FURLOUGH SCHEME EXTENDED AS JOB SUPPORT SCHEME POSTPONED
02 Nov 2020

The government decided to extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough scheme) until December and postponed the start of the Job Support Scheme (JSS), which had been due to come into effect on 1 November. The JSS is now expected to come into force in early December but as experience has shown us, this could very well be subject to further change.

The extension to the furlough scheme applies to all four nations of the UK with immediate effect.

For the month of November, employers can furlough their employees on the same terms as applied in August this year – the government will pay 80% of the employee’s wages up to a cap of £2,500 per month. The employer does not require to contribute anything towards the 80% of wages, but will have to pay employer’s National Insurance contributions and an employer’s pension contribution at minimum auto-enrolment levels on the sums paid to the employee. These will not be reimbursed.

It will be possible to furlough employees who have never been furloughed before, as long as the employer has made a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying a PAYE payment for that employee to HMRC on or before 30 October 2020.

It will also remain possible to have employees on flexible furlough throughout the month of November, where an employee works some of their contracted hours (and is paid in full by the employer for these hours) and is on furlough for the remainder of their contracted hours.

You can read the government announcement here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/furlough-scheme-extended-and-further-economic-support-announced

Article courtesy Just Employment Law  www.justemploymentlaw.co.uk



Job Support Scheme template letter
02 Nov 2020

THIS SCHEME HAS BEEN POSTPONED, SEE ARTICLE ABOVE!

Job Support Scheme template letter -
 
Courtesy from Just Employment Law
 
 
In order to claim reimbursement under JSS Open, a short-time working agreement should be entered into with an employee. Importantly, the published guidance on the new scheme says that there must be a written agreement between the employer and the employee to this effect.
 
The JSS Open letter that can be used as a short-time working agreement. You will require to tailor the agreement prior to sending to ensure it reflects your agreement with staff.  Guidance on how to complete this letter can be found here.
 
The furlough scheme ended on 31 October and, immediately following this, on 1 November, the Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be implemented. Eligible employers can claim for reimbursement of eligible employees’ wages under the JSS even if an employee has not previously been furloughed.
 
Just Employment Law have prepared the attached documentation based on the information available from the government thus far. 



www.justemploymentlaw.co.uk



New face coverings rules for driving lessons and tests in Scotland
02 Nov 2020

Update from DVSA:

The Scottish Government has confirmed that from Monday 2 November 2020, by law, you and your pupils must wear a face covering during driving lessons.

This does not include motorcycle or tractor lessons.

If you do not wear a face covering, you must have a good reason, for example:

  • you have a physical or mental illness, impairment or disability
  • wearing it would cause you severe distress
  • you and the person you are teaching live in the same household

Your pupils will need to let you know before their lesson if they cannot wear a face covering.

You can be fined £60 if you do not wear a face covering during a driving lesson in Scotland. This will be reduced to £30 if you pay within 28 days.

Face coverings: practical tests

Your pupils must bring and wear a face covering for their practical test, unless they have a good reason not to. Good reasons are things like:

  • having a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability
  • wearing it would cause them severe distress

If they refuse to wear a face covering they will not be able to take their test.

If they do have a good reason they need to tell us when they book their test.

Face coverings: theory tests

Your pupils must bring and wear a face covering for their theory test, unless they have a good reason not to. Good reasons are things like:

  • having a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability
  • wearing it would cause them severe distress

They need to say if they have a good reason not to wear a face covering when they book their test.

If they already have a theory test booked and have a good reason not to wear a face covering they need to call Pearson VUE on 0300 200 1122.




New Coronavirus Funding in Scotland
28 Oct 2020

The Scottish Government announced £48million in funding for businesses in Scotland impacted by the temporary coronavirus restrictions that came into effect from the 9 October. 
 
One-off grants to hospitality and other businesses required to close and for those who have seen trade take a significant hit because of the restrictions will be available. 

We are mindful that once again our sector has been overlooked and whilst it is not clear that we have been excluded we felt it best to at least make our membership aware of possible funds.
 
As with all these support funds it is open to interpretation. 
 
The new grants fall into two broad categories: 
 
Business Closure Fund - Grants for businesses which have had to close as a result of the new restrictions 
 
Discretionary Business Hardship Fund – Grants for businesses which have not been required to close but are suffering substantial hardship as a result of the new restrictions or are having to operate in a restricted way 
 
It operates as a two-tiered scheme, with a smaller grant of £2,875 for businesses with a Rateable Value (RV) of up to and including £51,000 and a larger grant of £4,310 for those businesses with a RV of £51,001 and above. An upper limit of £21,000 in total will apply to any eligible business operating multiple premises. 
 
For the discretionary business hardship fund you must be: 
 
A hospitality business and some gyms, required by the regulations to operate in a restricted way 
 
A producer/wholesale business based in Scotland supplying primarily short-life goods or produce to hospitality businesses required by the regulations to close or operate in a restricted way and able to evidence a 25% reduction in turnover during the brake period 
 
Please note that these grants are only open for a very limited time. Applications close at 5.00pm on Tuesday 3 November.
 
How to apply 
 
Local Authorities will prioritise processing of applications with a view to making as many decisions as possible within the brake period while restrictions are in place. Local authorities will ensure any payment is made within 3 working days of notifying you of their decision. 
 
This link will take you to a list of local authority websites:  https://bit.ly/3e1XCV4 


HMRC Update - Job Support Scheme
26 Oct 2020

Update from HMRC:

We’re writing to let you know that we have published further information on the Job Support Scheme – including how you can check if you’re eligible and when you can make your first claim. You can find this on GOV‌‌‌‌.UK by searching 'Job Support Scheme'.

Job Support Scheme

The Job Support Scheme (JSS) will open on 1‌‌‌ ‌November and run for six months, until 30‌‌‌ ‌April 2021. The government has said it will review the terms of the scheme in January 2021. There are two variations to JSS – JSS Open and JSS Closed.

The UK government announced yesterday it will significantly increase the generosity and reach of its winter support schemes to ensure livelihoods and jobs across the UK continue to be protected in the difficult months to come, supporting jobs and helping to contain the virus.

In recognition of the challenging times ahead, the Chancellor said he would be increasing support through the existing Job Support and self-employed schemes.

JSS Open will provide support to businesses that are open where employees are working shorter hours due to reduced demand. Your employees will need to work at least 20% of their usual hours. You will continue to pay employees for the hours they work, and the UK government will pay a contribution of 61.67% of the usual pay for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £1,541.75 per month. You will pay 5% of the usual pay for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £125 per month, and can top this up further if you choose. This means employees should receive at least two thirds of their usual pay for hours not worked.

The caps are reduced according to the proportion of hours not worked. Further guidance on this will be available on GOV‌‌‌‌.UK shortly.

You will need to cover all employer National Insurance and pension contributions.

JSS Closed will provide support to businesses whose premises are legally required to close as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions set by one of the four governments of the UK. This includes premises restricted to delivery or collection-only services from their premises, and those restricted to providing food and/or drinks outdoors.

For JSS Closed, the UK government will fund two thirds of employees' usual wages for time not worked, up to a maximum of £2,083.33 per month. You will not be required to contribute, but you can top up the government’s contribution if you choose to. You will still need to cover all employer National Insurance and pension contributions.

You’ll be able to make your first JSS claim in arrears from 8‌‌‌ ‌December, for pay periods ending and paid in November. We’ll let you know more about how to make a claim by the end of this month.

Your employees will be able to check if you have made a Job Support Scheme claim on their behalf through their online Personal Tax Account. Employees can set up a Personal Tax Account on GOV‌‌‌‌.UK, by searching 'Personal Tax Account: sign in or set up'.

Job Retention Bonus (JRB)

You’ll be able to claim a one-off payment of £1,000 for every eligible employee you furloughed and claimed for through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), kept continuously employed until at least 31‌‌‌ ‌January 2021 and who meets the other eligibility criteria. You do not have to pay this money to your employee.

You will be able to claim the bonus between 15‌‌‌ ‌February and 31‌‌‌ ‌March. To do this you must have submitted PAYE information for the period up to 5‌‌‌ ‌February 2021 on time.

Further information on eligibility and when you can claim can be found on GOV‌‌‌‌.UK by searching 'Job Retention Bonus Guidance' and further guidance on the claim process will be published by the end of January 2021.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – closes on 31‌‌‌ ‌October

Please note that this scheme closes on 31‌‌‌ ‌October and you will need to make any final claims on or before 30‌‌‌ ‌November. You will not be able to submit or add to any claims after 30‌‌‌ ‌November.

From 1‌‌‌ ‌October, the UK government has paid employers 60% of usual wages up to a cap of £1,875 per month for the hours furloughed employees do not work.

You continue to pay your furloughed employees at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. You need to fund the difference between this and the CJRS grant yourself.

The caps are proportional to the hours not worked. For example, if your employee is furloughed for half their usual hours in October, you are entitled to claim 60% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work, up to £937.50 (half of £1,875 cap). You must still pay your employee at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours they don’t work, so for someone only working half their usual hours you’d need to pay them up to £1,250 (half of £2,500 cap), funding the remaining portion yourself. For help with calculations, search 'Calculate how much you can claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' on GOV‌‌‌‌‌.UK.

You’ll also continue to pay employer National Insurance and pension contributions from your own funds.

You must keep the records that support the amount of CJRS grant you have claimed in case HMRC needs to check it. You can now view, print or download copies of your previously submitted claims by logging onto your CJRS service on GOV‌‌‌‌.UK.

Claimed too much in error?

It’s important that you check each claim is accurate before submitting it, and we would also recommend checking previous claims and repaying any amount over-claimed, so you will not have to pay interest and penalties if we subsequently discover you have claimed too much.

If you have claimed too much CJRS grant and have not already repaid it, you must notify us and repay the money by the latest of whichever date applies below:

  • 90 days from receiving the CJRS money you’re not entitled to
  • 90 days from the point circumstances changed so that you were no longer entitled to keep the CJRS grant.

If you do not do this, you may have to pay interest and a penalty as well as repaying the excess CJRS grant. For more information on interest search 'Interest rates for late and early payments' on GOV‌‌‌‌‌.‌‌‌UK.

How to let us know if you have claimed too much

You can let us know as part of your next online claim without needing to call us. If you claimed too much but do not plan to submit further claims, you can let us know and make a repayment online through our card payment service or by bank transfer – go to 'Pay Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grants back' on GOV‌‌‌‌‌.‌‌‌‌‌‌UK.

Further support

Guidance and live webinars offering you more support on changes to CJRS, JSS and JRB, and how they impact you, are available to book online – go to GOV‌‌‌‌‌.UK and search 'help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus'.

Our phone lines and webchat remain very busy, so the quickest way to find the support you need is on GOV‌‌‌‌‌.UK. This will leave our phone lines and webchat service open for those who need them most.



Business Gateway - Business Survival Webinar: Preparing Your Business For Future Restrictions
26 Oct 2020

Update from Business Gateway:

Join us on 
Tuesday 27th October at 11am to look at the potential Coronavirus Strategic Framework from The Scottish Government, the learnings from the current restrictions on businesses and how you can prepare for future restrictions. With panelists from Business GatewayVisitScotland,  Federation of Small Businesses and the Society of Chief Environmental Health Officers of Scotland.

You can book using this link https://bit.ly/31IDQcc

Plus they have information on the latest guidance, advice & support available to businesses in Scotland. Including their Coronavirus Support Hub which is available 24/7.  Visit the Business Gateway Coronavirus Hub here 


‘No deal’ tariffs would undermine Britain’s green recovery with £2,800 drain on electric car affordability, warns SMMT
26 Oct 2020

  • New calculations reveal ‘no deal’ tariff threat to Britain’s green recovery, with £2,800 average price uplift on EU-built EV effectively cancelling out UK’s plug-in car grant.
  • Shock of higher cost risks reducing increased BEV demand next year by at least 20%, hampering UK’s efforts to reach ambitious emissions reduction targets.

  • Tariffs would also add £2,000 to cost of British-built battery electric cars sold in Europe, damaging international competitiveness as UK strives to become a global leader in electromobility.

  • Automotive sector repeats call for swift conclusion of an ambitious UK-EU FTA to protect jobs and drive a sustainable recovery across every region.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has again urged both sides to re-engage with vigour in the Brexit negotiation process, honouring the commitment to get a good deal done, as new calculations illustrate the high stakes of ‘no deal’, not only for the automotive sector but for hopes of a green recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

‘No deal’ would be the worst possible outcome for UK Automotive, for car buyers and for the country’s ambitions to become a world leader in transport decarbonisation. The immediate imposition of blanket tariffs under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules would add billions to the cost of trade and, crucially, to the cost of building and buying electric vehicles.

The 10% ‘no deal’ WTO tariff would add at least £4.5 billion to the annual cost of fully assembled cars traded between the UK and the EU, with an average hike of £1,900 per EU-built vehicle sold in the UK.1 However, new analysis shows that for fully electric cars fitted with expensive battery technology, the cost increase is even higher, at £2,800, effectively making the £3,000 plug-in car grant for these vehicles null and void.2

Moreover, this tariff would also add some £2,000 on to the average cost of UK-built battery electric cars (BEV) exported to the EU, making our own products less competitive and the UK far less attractive as a manufacturing investment destination.3 This would further hamper the UK’s ambition to be a global leader in zero emission vehicle development, production and deployment, severely damaging industrial competitiveness.

The UK and EU automotive industries are deeply integrated, with around two thirds of all battery electric cars on sale in the UK built in European factories.4 New tariffs would hold back the evolution of the electric car from a niche technology to one with mass affordability. UK car buyers are currently on track to register some 78,000 BEVs this year, with further growth expected in 2021. However, SMMT estimates that the price shock caused by these tariff increases could reduce the increased demand for BEVs next year by at least 20%, even before the impact of potential, border delays, supply chain disruption and currency fluctuations are taken into account, hindering efforts to accelerate uptake and decarbonisation.

You can read the full article here on SMMT's website:  https://bit.ly/35y4uWz



HMRC: National Minimum Wage webinars – elements of pay that cause the most confusion
21 Oct 2020

From HMRC:

Wages can be complex and different elements of pay affect the National Minimum Wage differently.

Misunderstanding of what can be included in minimum wage calculations is a common cause of underpayment – even amongst employers who think they are paying minimum wage rates or above.

HMRC is offering two live webinars covering elements of pay that cause the most confusion to employers on 27th October or 29th October.

Choose your date and time



HMRC Important information for employers
15 Oct 2020

From HMRC: Employer Bulletin (October 2020, Issue 86) includes all of the latest COVID-19 updates to help you continue to meet your payroll obligations to HMRC, including recent government announcements of additional support for businesses and employees.

We’ve included the latest update on both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Job Retention Bonus, the new Job Support Scheme, support for home working, updates on the UK Transition, and changes to Off-Payroll Working rules.

To avoid delay, we recommend use of our online services should you need to contact or send us information.



HMRC: Further guidance on business support schemes, including recent government announcements
14 Oct 2020

Update from HMRC:

We’re writing to provide you with further information on the support schemes available to help you through the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Job Support Scheme
  • Expansion of Job Support Scheme
  • Job Retention Bonus
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme.

Job Support Scheme

The government recently announced the Job Support Scheme (JSS) to protect jobs where businesses remain open but are facing lower demand over the winter months due to COVID-19.

Under JSS the government will contribute towards the wages of your employees if they are working fewer than normal hours due to decreased demand. You will continue to pay the wages for the hours your staff work. Employees must work at least 33% of their usual hours. For the hours not worked, you and the government will pay a third each of their usual wages (the government contribution is capped at £697.92 per month).

Expansion of Job Support Scheme

The government today (9‌‌‌ October) announced an expansion of the JSS, to provide temporary support to businesses whose premises have been legally required to close as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions.

Under this expansion, affected businesses will receive grants towards the wages of employees who have been instructed to and cease work. This will cover businesses that, as a result of restrictions set by one or more of the four governments of the UK, are legally required to close their premises, or to provide only delivery and collection services from their premises.

The government will pay two thirds of employees’ usual wages, up to a maximum of £2,100 per month. You will not be required to contribute towards wages, but do need to cover employer National Insurance and pension contributions.

You can apply for the JSS including the new expansion even if you haven’t previously used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). JSS is available for six months, from 1‌‌‌ November, with payment of grants in arrears from early December. The scheme will be reviewed in January.

Search 'Job Support Scheme expanded to firms required to close due to Covid Restrictions’ and ‘Job Support Scheme factsheet’ on GOV.UK for more details. Further information will be published in the coming weeks.

Job Retention Bonus – guidance now live

Further guidance for the Job Retention Bonus is now available. It includes information about how you can check if your employees are eligible and when you can claim the bonus.

You’ll be able to claim a one-off payment of £1,000 for every eligible employee you furloughed and claimed for through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and kept continuously employed until at least 31‌‌‌ January 2021. You do not have to pay this money to your employee.

To be eligible, employees must earn at least £1,560 between 6‌‌‌‌‌‌ November 2020 and 5‌‌‌ February 2021 and have received earnings in the November, December and January tax months. Employees must also not be serving a contractual or statutory notice period for you on 31‌‌‌ January 2021.

You will be able to claim the bonus from 15‌‌‌ February until 31‌‌‌ March, once you have submitted PAYE information for the period up to 5‌‌‌ February 2021. We’ll let you know how you can make a claim when further guidance is published by the end of January.

You can still claim the Job Retention Bonus if you make a claim for the same employees through the Job Support Scheme, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria for both.

Further information can be found on GOV.‌‌‌UK by searching ‘Job Retention Bonus Guidance’.

What you need to do now

If you intend to claim the Job Retention Bonus, you must:

  • keep your PAYE submissions up-to-date and on time, with Real Time Information (RTI) reporting for all employees, including reporting the leaving date for any employees that stop working for you in the month they leave or the next Full Payment Submission
  • use the irregular payment pattern indicator in RTI for any employees not paid regularly
  • provide any employee data for past CJRS claims that HMRC has requested
  • make sure all your CJRS claims have been accurately submitted and you have told us about any changes needed (for example if you’ve received too much or too little).

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – changes from 1‌‌‌ October  

From 1‌‌‌ October, HMRC will pay 60% of usual wages up to a cap of £1,875 per month for the hours furloughed employees do not work. 

You will continue to pay your furloughed employees at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. You will need to fund the difference between this and the CJRS grant yourself

The caps are proportional to the hours not worked. For example, if your employee is furloughed for half their usual hours in October, you are entitled to claim 60% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work, up to £937.50 (half of £1,875 cap). You must still pay your employee at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours they don’t work, so for someone only working half their usual hours you’d need to pay them up to £1,250 (half of £2,500 cap), funding the remaining portion yourself. For help with calculations, search ‘Calculate how much you can claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ on GOV‌.‌‌‌UK.

You’ll also continue to pay your furloughed employees’ National Insurance and pension contributions from your own funds. 

The scheme closes on 31‌‌‌‌‌‌ October and you will need to make any final claims on or before 30‌‌‌ November. You will not be able to submit or add to any claims after 30‌‌‌ November.

Claimed too much in error?

It’s important that you continue to check each claim is accurate before submitting it, and we would also recommend checking previous claims so you can avoid any penalties for claiming too much.

If you have claimed too much CJRS grant and have not repaid it, you must notify us and repay the money by the latest of whichever date applies below:

  • 90 days from receiving the CJRS money you’re not entitled to
  • 90 days from the point circumstances changed so that you were no longer entitled to keep the CJRS grant
  • 20‌‌‌ October 2020, if on or before 22‌‌‌ July you received CJRS money you were not entitled to, or if your circumstances changed.

If you do not do this, you may have to pay interest and a penalty as well as repaying the excess CJRS grant. For more information on interest search 'Interest rates for late and early payments' on GOV‌.‌‌‌UK.

How to let us know if you have claimed too much

You can let us know as part of your next online claim without needing to call us. If you claimed too much but do not plan to submit further claims, you can let us know and make a repayment online through the new card payment service – go to 'Pay Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grants back' on GOV‌.‌‌‌‌‌‌UK.

Further support

Guidance and live webinars offering you more support on changes to CJRS and how they impact you are available to book online – go to GOV‌.‌‌‌‌‌‌UK and search 'help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus'.

Our phone lines and webchat remain very busy, so the quickest way to find the support you need is on GOV‌.‌‌‌‌‌‌UK. This will leave our phone lines and webchat service open for those who need them most.  

VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme

If you deferred VAT payments that were due between 20‌‌‌‌‌‌ March and 30‌‌‌ June 2020, then these payments need to be made to HMRC by 3‌‌‌1‌‌‌ March 2021. You can use the VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme to spread these payments over equal instalments up to 31‌‌‌ March‌‌‌ 2022. Alternatively, you can make payments as normal by 3‌‌‌1‌‌‌ March 2021, or make Time To Pay arrangements with HMRC if you need more tailored support.

More information on the VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme will be available on GOV.‌‌‌UK in the coming months.



COVID-19: Employer support – live webinars
14 Oct 2020

Update from HMRC:

Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme from 1‌‌ October mean that employers will need to fund 20% of furloughed employees’ usual wages for the hours they do not work and continue to pay their National Insurance and pension contributions. 

The scheme closes on 31‌‌‌ ‌October and you will need to make any final claims on or before 3‌0 November. 

Make sure you have the latest information by joining the live webinar: 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme  

We’ll provide an overview of the scheme, including flexible furloughing, examples of how to work out the amount you can claim and the changes for October. 

You’ll hear the latest information on the Job Retention Bonus, including how to check if your employees are eligible, when you can claim and what you need to do now to prepare. 

We'll also give a short introduction to the Job Support Scheme (JSS) and its recently-announced expansion. The expansion will provide temporary support to businesses whose premises have been legally required to close as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions. Future webinars will contain more information on JSS once it becomes available.

If you haven’t been able to join our popular webinar about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme, there are still some places available. Get the latest information on: 

  • who can claim 
  • who you can claim for 
  • how to make a claim 
  • what you may be entitled to, and more. 

You can ask questions during all our live webinars using the on-screen text box. 

Our webinars are constantly updated to provide the latest government guidance on changes as they develop. 



BEIS to host Brexit webinars for automotive and retail sectors
13 Oct 2020

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will aim to help automotive and retail businesses to prepare for Brexit as part of a series of webinars taking place this month.

The UK is leaving the EU single market and customs union at the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31 and BEIS wants to ensure that businesses are ready for the changes it will bring.

Its series of webinars on the various changes that can be expected by various sectors get underway today (October 13), with automotive and retail set to be addressed online tomorrow.

A statement issued by BEIS said that the webinars’ content will “explain what the changes will mean and the actions businesses must take to avoid interruption and enjoy the opportunities the UK’s new relationship with the EU will bring”.

It added: “The webinars will guide businesses through the changes, which include how to import and export goods, the process for hiring people from the EU, and how to provide services in EU markets.”

Business sectors being covered by these webinars are:

  • Services and Investment, October 13
  • Retail, October 14
  • Automotive, October 14
  • Metals and Materials, October 20
  • Electronics and Machinery, October 21
  • Consumer Goods, October 22
  • Life Sciences, October 27
  • Construction, October 28
  • Aerospace, October 29

Anyone wishing to actively participate in the webinars can register now at bit.ly/UKTwebinar.

The webinars will be recorded and made available on this link for those businesses unable to attend, however.

BEIS said: “Thousands of businesses have attended previous EU Exit seminars and events that BEIS has run over the past two years.

“Feedback shows participants found the information useful, especially for clarifying areas they were already thinking about and raising awareness of actions not already on their radars.

“A digital roadshow held in 2019 was found useful by over three-quarters of those who attended.”



Covid support for Scottish businesses - Job Support Scheme expanded
12 Oct 2020

The Chancellor has announced [9 October] that the UK Government’s Job Support Scheme will be expanded to support businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions.

Welcoming the move, Alister Jack said:

The extension of the Chancellor’s Job Support Scheme is welcome news for businesses across Scotland, providing a vital safety net for companies which are asked to close temporarily.

From the very start of the pandemic, the UK Government has focussed on stopping the spread of coronavirus and keeping people safe, while also doing everything we can to protect the economy.

The unprecedented package of measures we have put in place to support all parts of the country shows the clear benefits for Scotland being part of a strong United Kingdom.

Full details of the announcement are here.



Scottish Government response re face coverings
08 Oct 2020

SMTA received a letter from the Scottish Government regarding face masks, see extract below.  You can read the full letter here

When Scotland entered Phase Three of its lockdown easing plan it was announced that retail, along with the hospitality and public transport sectors, will be exempt from the two-metre rule. Retailers were given the option to reduce the physical distancing rule to one metre, as long as they put necessary mitigations in place from 15 July.

Additionally, from 10 July face coverings became mandatory in shops, except where an exemption applies (as defined in the regulations). Staff are also required to wear a face covering unless they are physically separated from customers, by means of, for example, partition screens. They also do not require a face covering if they maintain a two-metre distance from customers or members of the public. In any of these circumstances where staff do not require a face covering, they are still mandatory for customers.



CECRA 2020 - Report CECRA General Meeting 01/10/2020 and its enclosures
07 Oct 2020


The main aim of the CECRA annual General Meeting is to inform you on CECRA’s main achievements, state of affairs and on the most relevant political developments going on at EU level and their potential implications for dealers and repairers. They also use this opportunity to present the main trends and the possible scenarios within the automotive landscape. 

Click here to read report of the General Meeting, enclosures are listed below:



Health & Safety Executive - COVID-19 Risk Assessment - Spot Check - Health & Safety at Work Act., 1974
06 Oct 2020

Update from Health & Safety Executive - 

As businesses re-open and workers return to the workplace, employers are having to adapt their working environments to manage the risk posed by coronavirus.

To minimise the risk of infection in the workplace, HSE is carrying out spot checks and inspections on businesses to ensure they are COVID-secure. We are doing this by calling and visiting premises to speak to duty-holders to check the measures they’ve put in place are in line with the current guidance.

We are doing spot checks and inspections on all types of businesses, in all areas. During the checks we provide advice and guidance to manage risk and protect workers, customers and visitors. Where businesses are not managing this, we will take immediate action in one of the following ways:

  • providing specific advice
  • issuing enforcement notices
  • stopping certain work practices until they are made safe
  • prosecution where a business fails to comply

Being COVID-secure means being adaptable to the current guidelines, and HSE’s inspection approach will adapt as workplaces in different sectors manage the coronavirus risks that apply to them. Most employers want to do the right thing, and HSE is here to help and provide advice.

We are also working closely with local authorities assisting them in their targeting of premises in the sectors they regulate such as hospitality and retail.

If you receive a call from us, you must participate in the spot check as you have a duty under health and safety law to engage with us. Please note that the call will currently come up as an unknown number.

You can find more HSE advice on making your workplace COVID-secure.


For more info visit the full article on their website here



Cox Automotive - The Market Landscape - September 2020
01 Oct 2020

New car market – UK from Cox Automotive - Read the full analysis here

Registrations currently down -39.7% YTD and the SMMT forecast -30% down by the end of 2020

  • Lost 600k registrations during COVID-19 lockdown and YTD
  • Production constraints for OEMs due to lost efficiencies and supply chain issues
  • SMMT reduce the 2020 full-year outlook to -30%, representing more than £20 billion of lost sales 
  • Rental experience new consumer behaviours and vehicle usage
  • Order take healthy across the network, but concerns remain regarding supply
  • OEMs focus on maximising 2020 recovery ahead of the threat of tariffs  


European Commission - Pact for Skills
30 Sep 2020

CECRA joined a roundtable organized by the European Commission with the participation of Commissioner Breton, in charge of Industry and digitalization and Commissioner Schmit, in charge of Jobs and Social rights.

The aim of the meeting was to share industry and institutions views on the future of the automotive sector in Europe during and after the COVID19 crisis, to find a common ground to set up a revived collaboration, which is deeply needed and urgent.

Both Commissioners recognized the central and primary role of the automotive sector for the whole European economy. The focus of the discussion was the need of reskilling for all workers of the sector: support their reskilling is the only way to make the automotive sector transition work and to avoid harmful job losses.

Challenges are known and unanimously recognized: electrification, digitalization and COVID19.

Many participants underlined the need of cooperation between public authorities and value chain actors to create highly efficient and up to date training centers. Some participants suggested to start with pilot projects at regional level, not only with universities, but also engaging schools. A Pan European action will be beneficial for the whole sector, aiming to create clarity and coordination between Member States. Commissioners are aware of the urgency need to support both corporate and SMEs.

The European Commission’s initiative “Pact for skills” will be launched on Nov 10 2020.

For CECRA, it is fundamental to constantly monitor this topic at European level: we envisage a huge increase of EV and AV products in the near future and dealers and repairers must be ready to manage and work with these products. The technology is new and the training is an absolute necessity for all workers, but it is costly; the Recovery Plan can fund reskilling actions supporting the transition of businesses, reducing the risk of discrepancies between supply and demand in the automotive sector. At the same time, new business models will emerge and CECRA must monitor solutions that support the benefit for all actors of the European Automotive value chain.



UK car manufacturing falls -44.6% in August as coronavirus bites again
30 Sep 2020

· Ongoing coronavirus crisis stalls efforts to ramp up output with weak demand overseas compounded by heavy domestic losses.
 
· Production so far this year down -40.2% with a loss of 348,821 units worth more than £9.5bn to UK car makers.
 
· As pandemic’s second wave engulfs UK, sector welcomes new support for jobs but warns that demand-hit manufacturing sector not yet out of woods.
 
Car production declined -44.6% in August, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Just 51,039 units rolled off factory lines as efforts to ramp up production stalled amid the coronavirus crisis, with weak demand in key overseas markets compounded by a significant fall in output for UK buyers. The performance also reflects an unusually strong August in 2019, when some plants worked through the customary summer maintenance shutdown period, instead pausing in April to mitigate the then possible ‘no deal’ Brexit on 31 March.
Production for UK buyers fell -58.3% in the month to just 7,795 units, while exports followed a similar pattern, declining by -41.1% with 73,443 vehicles produced for overseas markets. Almost 85% of all cars built in Britain in August were destined for countries around the world, underlining the importance of this trade to the sector and UK economy.
 
So far this year UK car production is down -40.2%, representing a loss of 348,821 units. Manufacturing output for the domestic market is down -46.0% in the first eight months, with exports falling -38.8%, but still taking the lion’s share of output.
 
The news comes as the UK braces for a second wave of coronavirus, with local lockdowns in place across parts of the country and tighter social and business restrictions to curb the rate of transmission. Consequently, assistance for sectors such as automotive, where many firms cannot operate at full speed, is now critical and the Job Support Scheme, as well as the other financial measures announced yesterday, come as welcome news. Flexible measures to support short time working and cashflow are essential for automotive businesses while market demand and production capacity remain diminished.
 
So far this year UK car production losses due to the crisis have cost manufacturers more than £9.5 billion, losses that will be impossible to catch back.1 Meanwhile at least 13,500 jobs are known to have been cut across the entire UK automotive sector in 2020, with a recent SMMT member survey highlighting that one in six auto jobs are at risk of redundancy when the current job support scheme ends.2
 
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “These are increasingly disturbing times for UK car makers and suppliers with the coronavirus crisis weighing heavily on the sector. Companies are bracing for a second wave with tighter social and business restrictions making the industry’s attempts to restart even more challenging. The UK industry is fundamentally strong and agile, and the measures announced
 
yesterday by the Chancellor are welcome and essential, although we await more details of how they will work for all businesses and crucially large manufacturers. Companies need to retain skilled jobs and maintain cashflow and we may need more support to boost business and consumer confidence later this year. Moreover, with fewer than 100 days until the Brexit transition period ends, we need urgent agreement of an ambitious free trade deal with our largest market to avoid the second shock of crippling tariffs.”
 
The crisis of a second wave of coronavirus comes with the prospect of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit now mere months away and with the UK on course to produce just below 885,000 cars this year, down 34% on 2019. The potential for this performance to rebound exists, but needs an ambitious, tariff-free FTA which could help car output return to pre-crisis levels of 1.2 million units by 2025.3
 
However, a ‘no deal’ scenario would be disastrous, with car volumes potentially falling below 750,000 by 2025, hampering sector efforts to drive investment into the new skills, facilities and technologies that will be integral to delivering a zero-carbon future for the UK.3 Furthermore, calculations released last week revealed that ‘no deal’ would cost the pan-European automotive industry some £100 billion in lost trade over the next five years, putting jobs at risk in a sector that supports 14.6 million livelihoods, representing one in 15 of EU and UK jobs.

Article courtesy SMMT


Just Employment Law - Job Support Scheme
28 Sep 2020

From Just Employment Law  www.justemploymentlaw.co.uk

As noted in a previous news item the Job Support Scheme will be introduced from 1 November 2020 for a six month period until April 2021. The aim of the Scheme is to protect viable jobs in businesses which, due to coronavirus, are anticipating lower demand over the winter.

In order to benefit from the Scheme, employees must work at least one third (33%) of their normal hours for the first three months of the Scheme and be paid for those hours by their employer. The Government shall review this minimum hours requirement after three months of the Scheme.

For the hours not worked by employees, the Government and the employer will then pay a third each of the employee’s usual wage. The Government’s contribution will be capped at a maximum of £697.92 per month. As a result, employees who are back at work on reduced hours, will receive a minimum of 77% of their normal pay (where the Government cap does not apply), subject to their agreement.

The Scheme will be available to all businesses throughout the UK, including those who have not taken advantage of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme subject to them having a UK bank account and a UK PAYE scheme. That said, large businesses will have to meet a financial assessment test before being able to benefit from the Scheme. Employers can benefit from both the Job Support Scheme and Job Retention Bonus if they meet the eligibility requirements.

In order to be eligible for the Scheme, employees must have been on the employer’s PAYE payroll and a Real Time Information submission notifying payment to that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 23 September 2020. Employees do not have to have the same working pattern each month but each short time working arrangement must cover a minimum period of seven days. In addition, employees will be able to rotate on and off the Scheme. During any period where an employer is claiming a grant for an employee, the employee cannot be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy.

Grant payments from the Government will be made in arrears each month to reimburse the employer for the Government’s contribution. It has been confirmed that employers will be required to pay class 1 employer NICs and pension contributions.

The Treasury have released a factsheet with further information about the Scheme which can be accessed here.



New COVID-19 support schemes announced
28 Sep 2020

Update from HMRC

A new Job Support Scheme will be introduced from ‌‌1‌‌ November to protect jobs where businesses are facing lower demand over the winter months due to coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Under the scheme, which will run for six months, the government will contribute towards the wages of employees who are working fewer than normal hours due to decreased demand. 

You will continue to pay the wages for the hours your staff work. For the hours not worked, you and the government will each pay one third of their usual wages (capped at £697.92 per month). You will need to meet your share of the pay for unworked hours and all your National Insurance contributions and statutory pension contributions, from your own funds. This means that employees will receive at least two thirds of their usual wages for the hours not worked. 

To be eligible, employees must:  

  • be registered on your PAYE payroll on or before 23 September 2020. This means a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment in respect of that employee must have been made to HMRC on or before 23 September 2020
  • work at least 33% of their usual hours. The government will consider whether to increase this minimum hours threshold after the first three months of the scheme.

Further eligibility criteria is available on GOV‌.UK by searching 'Job Support Scheme factsheet'.

The Job Support Scheme will be open to employers across the UK even if you have not previously applied under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which closes on 3‌1‌‌ ‌‌October.

The Job Support Scheme will start from 1‌‌ November and you will be able to claim in December. Grants will be paid on a monthly basis.  

The scheme will operate in addition to the Job Retention Bonus. You and your employees can benefit from both schemes in order to help protect viable jobs. 

For information on what is covered by the grant, which employers and employees are eligible, and how to claim, search 'Job Support Scheme factsheet' on GOV‌.UK.

Extension to the reduced rate of VAT for Hospitality and Tourism

The government has extended the temporary reduced rate of VAT (5%) to tourist attractions and goods and services supplied by the hospitality sector. This relief came into effect on 15 July 2020 and will now end on 31‌‌ March 2021 across the UK.

VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme

If you deferred payments that were due between 20 March and 30 June 2020, then these payments need to be made to HMRC by 31‌‌ March 2021. You can use the New Payment Scheme to spread these payments over equal instalments up to 31‌‌ March 2022. Alternatively, you can make payments as normal by 31‌‌ March 2021 or make Time To Pay arrangements with HMRC if you need more tailored support.

New Self Assessment Self-Serve Time To Pay Scheme

If you deferred paying your July 2020 Payment on Account, you will need to pay the deferred amount, in addition to any balancing payment and first 2020/21 Payment on Account, by 3‌1‌‌ ‌‌January 2021. This may be a larger payment than you usually pay in January.

If you're unable to pay your Self-Assessment (SA) bill in full by 31‌‌ January 2021, you can set up a Time to Pay payment plan of up to 12 months online without speaking to us. If you have SA tax debts of up to £30,000, you'll able to access this Time to Pay facility through GOV‌.UK and will get automatic and immediate approval. If your SA debts are over £30,000, or you need longer than 12 months to repay your debt in full, you will still be able to use our Time to Pay arrangement by calling HMRC. 

Other business support schemes:

Changes to CJRS – what you need to do from 1‌‌ October

From 1‌‌ October, HMRC will pay 60% of usual wages up to a cap of £1,875 per month for the hours furloughed employees do not work. 

You will continue to pay your furloughed employees at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. You will need to fund the difference between this and the CJRS grant yourself

The caps are proportional to the hours not worked. For example, if your employee is furloughed for half their usual hours in October, you are entitled to claim 60% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work, up to £937.50 (half of £1,875 cap). You must still pay your employee at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours they don’t work, so for someone only working half their usual hours you’d need to pay them up to £1,250 (half of £2,500 cap), funding the remaining portion yourself. For help with calculations, search ‘Calculate how much you can claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ on GOV‌.UK.

You’ll also continue to pay your furloughed employees' National Insurance and pension contributions from your own funds. 




Covid19 Job Support Scheme Announced
24 Sep 2020


A new Jobs Support Scheme will be launched for employees working at least a third of their normal hours, who are being paid for that as normal. The government and employers will jointly increase their wages to cover two-thirds of their lost pay and the employee will keep their job

All small and medium-sized businesses are eligible, but larger businesses must show their turnover has fallen during the crisis. Employers can use it even if they have not previous used the furlough scheme it replaces

It will run for six months from November

The existing grant for self-employed people is being extended on similar terms to the Jobs Support Scheme

A “pay as you grow” scheme was announced for businesses, allowing them to extend their bounce back loans from six to 10 years, reducing their payments

Businesses can also move to interest-only payments or suspend repayments for six months if they are "in real trouble". Credit ratings will be unaffected

The government guarantee on Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans will be extended to 10 years and a new successor loan guarantee programme will be announced in January

The temporary reduction of VAT from 20% to 5% for some sectors will remain in place until 31 March 2021


Courtesy www.bbc.co.uk

Check if you can apply for a grant through the Kickstart Scheme
24 Sep 2020

How the scheme works

You can use the Kickstart Scheme to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

The job placements should support the participants to develop the skills and experience they need to find work after completing the scheme.

The Kickstart Scheme is available in England, Scotland and Wales.

What funding is available

Funding is available for:

  • 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week
  • associated employer National Insurance contributions
  • employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions

There is also £1500 per job placement available for setup costs, support and training.

If you are applying on behalf of a group of employers, you can get £300 of funding for each job placement to support with the associated administrative costs of bringing together these employers.

How to get the funding

Funding is available following a successful application process. Applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements. If you are unable to offer this many job placements, you can find someone to apply on behalf of a group of employers to reach the minimum number.

Find out how you can represent a group of employers.

Who can apply for funding

Any organisation, regardless of size, can apply for funding.

The job placements created with Kickstart funding must be new jobs. They must not:

  • replace existing or planned vacancies
  • cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment

The roles you are applying for must be:

  • a minimum of 25 hours per week, for 6 months
  • paid at least the National Minimum Wage for their age group
  • should not require people to undertake extensive training before they begin the job placement

Each application should include how you will help the participants to develop their skills and experience, including:

  • support to look for long-term work, including career advice and setting goals
  • support with CV and interview preparations
  • supporting the participant with basic skills, such as attendance, timekeeping and teamwork

Once a job placement is created, it can be taken up by a second person once the first successful applicant has completed their 6-month term.

How to apply

If you’re creating fewer than 30 job placements

If your organisation is creating fewer than 30 job placements, you cannot apply directly. You must find someone to apply on your behalf.

Other organisations could include:

  • similar employers
  • local authorities
  • trade bodies
  • registered charities

Find out more about becoming a representative for a group of employers.

You can contact your local or national Kickstart Scheme employer contact for help finding a someone who can support your involvement in the Kickstart Scheme.



Other help you can get

Kickstart is not an apprenticeship, but participants may move on to an apprenticeship at any time during, or after their job placement.



SMTA seeking further clarification on face coverings
23 Sep 2020

SMTA's Chief Executive, Sandy Burgess has written to every cabinet secretary within the Scottish Government requsting urgent clarification on face coverings for the motor trade and when using demonstration vehicles.  An update will follow.

Government wants UK to be ‘world leader’ in hydrogen
17 Sep 2020

The Government is working on a hydrogen strategy, to be published next year, which will “deliver a world leading hydrogen market”, a top civil servant has said.

During an Environmental Audit Committee session yesterday (September 10), Business Secretary Alok Sharma confirmed that the forthcoming energy white paper will include plans for hydrogen and that will be followed by a detailed strategy early next year – ahead of the UK hosting the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow in November.

Julian Critchlow, Director General for Energy Transformation and Clean Growth at the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), said that the strategy will bring together the supply and demand side, and answered criticism that the UK is lagging behind other countries, such as Germany, Japan and Australia, in hydrogen development.

He said: “Far from being behind we believe that we’re actually putting the detailed and specific policy levers in place to be able to deliver a world leading hydrogen market.”

However, for the UK to achieve its goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 it will need to achieve hydrogen capacity of about 270 terawatt-hours, up from 27-terawatt-hours today.

Hydrogen to have ‘big role’ in decarbonising transport

Critchlow said that from a transport point of view, the Government sees hydrogen “having a big role”, especially for heavier vehicles.

He highlighted the £23 million programme with OLEV, which is looking at funding vehicles and refuelling stations, and the ultra-low emission bus scheme for hydrogen buses, along with the Prime Minister’s commitment for 4,000 new zero emission buses.

Business leaders have been campaigning for the Government to clarify its future hydrogen strategy and believe more needs to be done.

Jonny Goldstone, MD of Green Tomato Cars, one of the businesses backing the Hydrogen Strategy Now campaign, said that businesses need confidence in the development of the infrastructure.

Currently there are six hydrogen refuelling stations across the South East, with only one of those located in East London.

Goldstone, who has hydrogen, electric and hybrid vehicle in his 250-strong company-owned fleet, said: “We want London to lose its reputation as the ‘Big Smoke’.

“Our hydrogen vehicles emit zero CO2 emissions, whereas other vehicles are pumping out high volumes of carbon emissions every day. A widespread take-up of zero-emission hydrogen and battery electric vehicles is essential to improving air quality across the capital.

“We have 50 hydrogen cars and we’re looking to expand that number. But we want to have the confidence that the infrastructure will be there to allow us to operate consistently and efficiently for our drivers and customers.

“The refuelling network needs to expand to enable demand for hydrogen vehicles to increase, which in turn will lead to manufacturers producing more and greater customer uptake.”

Article courtesy www.smarttransport.org.uk



Only weeks left to save EU and UK auto sectors from €110 billion ‘no deal’ Brexit disaster
14 Sep 2020

Monday 14 September, 2020 With just 15 weeks before the Brexit transition period expires, European automotive industry leaders have today joined forces to call for the EU and UK to secure an ambitious free trade agreement (FTA) without further delay. Negotiators on both sides must now pull out all the stops to avoid 'no deal' at the end of the transition, which according to new calculations would cost the pan-European automotive sector some €110 billion in lost trade over the next five years,1 putting jobs at risk in a sector that supports 14.6 million livelihoods, representing one in 15 of EU and UK jobs.2 

The lead organisations representing vehicle and parts makers across the EU, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) and the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA), along with 21 national associations, including the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), Comité des Constructeurs Français d'Automobiles (CCFA) and La Plateforme automobile (PFA), are today warning that the sector could face severe repercussions. Indeed, economies and jobs on both sides of the channel are at risk of a second devastating hit in the shape of no deal coming on top of around €100 billion worth of production lost so far this year due to the coronavirus crisis.3 

Without a deal in place by 31 December, both sides would be forced to trade under so-called World Trade Organisation (WTO) non-preferential rules, including a 10% tariff on cars and up to 22% on vans and trucks.4 Such tariffs – far higher than the small margins of most manufacturers – would almost certainly need to be passed on to consumers, making vehicles more expensive, reducing choice, and impacting demand. Furthermore, automotive suppliers and their products will be hit by tariffs. This will make production more expensive or will lead to more imports of parts from other competitive countries.  

Before the coronavirus crisis hit, EU and UK production of motor vehicles was running at 18.5 million units a year.5 This year some 3.6 million units have already been lost across the sector due to the pandemic.6 New calculations suggest that, for cars and vans alone, a reduction in demand resulting from a 10% WTO tariff could wipe some three million units from EU and UK factory output over the next five years, with losses worth €52.8 billion to UK plants and €57.7 billion to those based across the EU.7  Suppliers would also suffer from these changes. 

This combined loss in trade value would seriously harm revenues for a sector that is one of Europe's most valuable assets, employing millions of people and generating shared prosperity for all, with a combined trade surplus of €74 billion with the rest of the world in 2019. Collectively, the EU27 and UK automotive sector is responsible for 20% of global motor vehicle production and spends some €60.8 billion on innovation per year, making it Europe's largest R&D investor.8  

Achieving an ambitious EU-UK FTA with automotive-specific provisions is critical to the European automotive industry's future success. Any deal should include zero tariffs and quotas, appropriate rules of origin for both internal combustion engine and alternatively fuelled vehicles, plus components and powertrains, and a framework to avoid regulatory divergence.

Crucially, businesses need detailed information about the agreed trading conditions they will face from 1 January 2021 to make final preparations. This, combined with targeted support and an appropriate a phase-in period that allows for greater use of foreign materials for a limited period of time, will ensure businesses are able to cope with the end of the transition period.

Eric-Mark Huitema, ACEA Director General, said: "The stakes are high for the EU auto industry – we absolutely must have an ambitious EU-UK trade agreement in place by January. Otherwise our sector – already reeling from the COVID crisis – will be hit hard by a double whammy."

Sigrid de Vries, CLEPA Secretary General, said: "A 'no deal' Brexit would disrupt the integrated automotive supply chain and hit industry at a critical moment. The impact will be felt far beyond the bilateral trade streams alone, translating into a loss of jobs and investment capacity. The automotive sector is the EU's largest private R&D investor with €60 billion invested each year. We need a deal that maintains the sector's global competitiveness."

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, "These figures paint a bleak picture of the devastation that would follow a 'no deal' Brexit. The shock of tariffs and other trade barriers would compound the damage already dealt by a global pandemic and recession, putting businesses and livelihoods at risk. Our industries are deeply integrated so we urge all parties to recognise the needs of this vital provider of jobs and economic prosperity, and pull out every single stop to secure an ambitious free trade deal now, before it is too late."  

Hildegard Müller, President of VDA, said: "The automotive industry needs stable and reliable framework conditions. It would be to the great disadvantage of both sides if the UK withdrawal were to end with the application of tariffs in mutual trade. This would jeopardise closely linked value chains and possibly make them unprofitable. Our member companies have more than 100 production sites in the United Kingdom. We hope that the EU and the UK will continue their close partnership - with a comprehensive free trade agreement."  

Thierry COGNET, President of CCFA, said, "A 'no deal' situation on 1 January 2021 would be particularly challenging for manufacturers. What we need from negotiators, in an economic context already very affected by the COVID crisis, is a substantial deal protecting us from tariffs, quotas and regulatory divergence." 

The 23 Automotive Association signatories include:
  • ACAROM – Romanian Association of Automobile Builders acarom.ro
  • ACEA – European Automobile Manufacturers Association acea.be
  • ACS – Automotive Cluster of Slovenia acs-giz.si/en
  • AFIA – Portuguese Manufacturers Association for the Automotive Industry afia.pt
  • AIA – Czech Automotive Industry Association autosap.cz
  • ANFIA – Italian Association of the Automobile Industry anfia.it
  • AUTIG – Danish Automotive Trade & Industry Federation autig.dk
  • BIL SWEDEN – Swedish Association of Automobile Manufacturers and Importers bilsweden.se
  • CCFA – Committee of French Automobile Manufacturers ccfa.fr
  • CLEPA – European Association of Automotive Suppliers clepa.eu
  • FEBIAC – Belgian Federation of Automobile and Motorcycle Industries febiac.be
  • FKG – Scandinavian Automotive Supplier Association fkg.se
  • FFOE – Austrian Association of the Automotive Industry fahrzeugindustrie.at
  • ILEA – Luxembourg Automotive Suppliers Association ilea.lu/
  • MGE – Hungarian Vehicle Importers Association mge.hu
  • PFA – French Association of the Automotive Industry pfa-auto.fr/
  • RAI – Dutch Association for Mobility Industry raivereniging.nl
  • SDCM – Polish Association of Automotive Parts Distributors and Producers sdcm.pl
  • SERNAUTO – Spanish Association of Automotive Suppliers sernauto.es
  • SIMI - Society of the Irish Motor Industry simi.ie/en
  • SMMT – Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders smmt.co.uk
  • VDA – German Association of the Automotive Industry vda.de
  • ZAP – Automotive Industry Association of the Slovak Republic zapsr.sk     

Press Release courtesy SMMT

CECRA Press release : European automotive recovery needed
07 Sep 2020

Brussels, 04/09/2020

While lockdown measures are lifted in Europe, the pandemic is still affecting our daily lives, our health, and our economy but also our industry. Indeed, according to ACEA, in June 2020, registrations of new passenger cars in the EU encountered a drop of 22.3% compared to the same month last year.

The 6 first months of the year show a decrease of 38,1% for passenger car registrations.

The lifting of lockdown measures and dealerships/workshops re opening their doors does not seem to be followed by consumer demand,

All EU markets continue to post significant declines. Looking at the first half of the year, among the four major EU markets, Spain saw the biggest decline (-50.9%) so far this year, followed by Italy (-46.1%), and Germany (-34.5%).

While the French market, thanks to the new incentives to stimulate sales of low-emission vehicles that were introduced by the French government at the beginning of June, has known an improvement this summer, the results of the first eight months of 2020 show, at this stage, a decline of almost 32% of the French passenger car market. A similar drop has been registered for the commercial and industrial market.

ACEA is forecasting a drop of 25% for passenger car registration for 2020.

The coming months will be decisive, the COVID-19 crisis is also impacting our habits of consumption and our behavior in a general way. Hence, presenting an opportunity for main actors to mobilize and become actors of new mobility and new services.  

“We believe that political and economic support, both at EU and national levels are needed in order to ensure that our sector can survive and recover – thereby protecting jobs, services to the consumers and future investments” stated CECRA’s president Jean-Charles Herrenschmidt

Thomson Cooper Business Survey Results
02 Sep 2020


Thomson Cooper Accountants have shared their business survey results with us on 'How is the pandemic affecting local businesses?'

You can view their survey results here.

For more information please visit their website www.thomsoncooper.com/news/covid-19-business-support-hub

Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme from 1st September
02 Sep 2020

Update from HMRC:

From 1‌‌ September HMRC will now pay 70% of usual wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 per month for the hours furloughed employees do not work.

What you need to do now

  • Continue to pay your furloughed employees at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. You will need to fund the difference between this and the CJRS grant yourself.
  • The caps are proportional to the hours not worked. For example, if your employee is furloughed for half their usual hours in September, you are entitled to claim 70% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work up to £1,093.75 (50% of the £2,187.50 cap).
  • Continue to pay furloughed employees’ National Insurance and pension contributions from your own funds.

Make sure your data is right

It’s important that you provide all the data we need to process your claim. Payment of your grant may be at risk or delayed if you submit a claim that is incomplete or incorrect, so we want to help you get this right. We will get in touch if we see any employee data missing from your previous claims.

Claiming for 100 or more employees: use our template

It’s really important to use the right file type when uploading your data. The easiest way to ensure your file is in the right format is to use our template. To find it search ‘download a template if you're claiming for 100 or more employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ on GOV‌.UK.

If your file is in the wrong format – for example, an incorrect file type or too many or too few columns – it may be rejected. If your file is rejected, you’ll receive a message to say it has not been accepted and your claim will not be processed.

Fraudulent claims  

We have started to investigate CJRS claims where fraud is suspected. We will be paying particular attention to claims that differ from the PAYE data we hold and where we have received reports of fraud. Employees are encouraged to report their employer if they have reason to believe that they are abusing the scheme. They can do this anonymously if they prefer. For more information go to GOV‌.UK and search 'report fraud to HMRC'.

More information

Guidance and live webinars offering you more support on changes to the scheme and how they impact you are available to book online – go to GOV‌.UK and search 'help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus'. 

Our phone lines and webchat are still very busy, so the quickest way to find the support you may need is on GOV‌.UK. This will leave our phone lines and webchat service open for those who need them most. 

Protect yourself from scams  

Stay vigilant about scams, which may mimic government messages as a way of appearing authentic and unthreatening. Search 'scams' on GOV‌.UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact. You can also forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 60599.  



Your chance to have your say: Scottish Light Vehicle Qualifications
26 Aug 2020

Do you have a Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Apprentice or perhaps have had one in the past or are maybe looking to take one on? We need your help to make sure that the qualifications your Apprentice takes are fit for purpose to do their job.

The IMI is reviewing the SVQ and Diploma Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Qualifications in Scotland at SCQF Level 5 and 7. In order to complete the process we’re looking for Light Vehicle employers to feed into the review. The more input we have the better the outcome of the process. 

It’s an incredibly important task, as the automotive landscape is changing rapidly with new technologies emerging, so this an opportunity to make sure qualifications reflect the industry’s changing landscape and that they are future proofed for employer needs over the next few years. 

We are looking for employers who would like to take part in an Expert Working Group to help review these qualifications. The main purpose of the group will be to review and give thoughts on the qualification structure, content plus evidence requirements and reach a consensus on any proposed changes.  

It will involve taking part in two Expert Working Group meetings; one at the beginning of the project to look at initial thoughts and a second following our wider consultation phase to agree the final changes.  

The first meeting will be held on Wednesday 16th September 2020 from 9:30am to 1pm. The second meeting is proposed to take place the week commencing the 30th November, but will be confirmed at a later date. Previously we’ve always held Expert Working Group meetings face-to-face, but given the current circumstances with COVID-19 we’ll be holding these remotely via Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Details on how to join the remote meetings will be given in advance of the meeting.

However if you would like to have your thoughts heard but are unable to commit to the Expert Working Group meetings we will also be holding wider online consultation. This’ll be done via an online survey or telephone discussions for anyone who would prefer to give feedback verbally. The wider consultation is planned to take place between 12th October and 6th November. 

If you would like to take part in the Expert Working Group or the wider consultation please email laurah@theimi.org.uk.



Scottish Government route map update
24 Aug 2020

The First Minister has updated the Scottish Parliament today on the latest review of the COVID-19 restrictions.

Scotland is to remain in Phase 3 of the route map out of lockdown and indicative dates have been given for the reopening of further sectors of the economy in August and September.

The publication can be viewed here



How changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on 1‌‌ September impact you
19 Aug 2020

Update from HMRC:

HMRC are reminding you about changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) from 1‌‌ September and what this means for you.  

What you need to do from 1‌‌ September

  • From 1‌‌ September CJRS will pay 70% of usual wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 per month for the hours furloughed employees do not work.
  • You will still need to pay your furloughed employees at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. You will need to fund the difference between this and the CJRS grant yourself.
  • The caps are proportional to the hours not worked. For example, if your employee is furloughed for half their usual hours in September, you are entitled to claim 70% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work up to £1,093.75 (50% of the £2,187.50 cap).
  • You will continue to have to pay furloughed employees’ National Insurance (NI) and pension contributions from your own funds.

Further guidance and live webinars offering you more support on changes to the scheme and how they impact you are available to book online – go to GOV‌.UK and search 'help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus'.

We are still receiving very high demand on our phone lines and webchat, so the quickest way to find the support you may need is on GOV‌.UK. This will leave our phone lines and webchat service open for those who need them most. 

Making sure your data is right

It’s important that you provide all the data we need to process your claim. Payment of your grant may be at risk or delayed if you submit a claim that is incomplete or incorrect, so we want to help you get this right. We will get in touch if we see any employee data missing from your previous claims.

You can find everything you’ll need to help make your claim on GOV‌.UK, including a useful calculator and guidance on the data you need to provide and the format you need to use to ensure your claim is accepted. Search for ‘claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’.

If you’re claiming for 100 or more employees, please download and use our template as this will help you make sure your data is right – search 'download a template if you're claiming for 100 or more employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' on GOV‌.UK.

Finding previous CJRS guidance

We’ve recently updated our CJRS guidance to make it easier for you to find the most relevant, up-to-date information.

If you need to check older guidance – for example, information for your claims ending on or before 30 June – you can search 'check if you can claim for your employees' wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' or 'check which employees you can put on furlough to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' on GOV‌.UK. A link to previous guidance can be found in boxes at the top of these pages.



Used car pricing in the UK was the strongest in Europe in July as demand exceeded supply
17 Aug 2020

Used car pricing in the UK was the strongest in Europe in July, new data has revealed.

Used car prices rose on average by 1.7 per cent helped by a 22 per cent shortfall in used stock in the market compared with April 1, Indicata’s latest report shows.

Sales fell by 1.8 per cent in July as a result of this stock shortage compared with a 3.7 per cent rise in June.

Consumer appetite for electric and hybrid cars continued, said the firm, with sales up 53.5 per cent and 51.2 per cent year-on-year respectively, while six-nine-year old used cars continue to be the most popular.

Prices of electric cars in July rose by £2,525 to £13,688 and hybrids by £1,461 to £16,156 compared with Q2, although supply was very limited.

In contrast to many other European markets, Indicata found luxury cars and SUVs are the UK’s strongest market segments experiencing a 11.5 per cent and 11 per cent increase year-on-year.

‘July was a very busy month with demand exceeding supply,’ said Indicata group sales director, Jon Mitchell.

‘There are signs from some of our vendor customers that supply is starting to increase coming into August. With the new plate change in September we should also see new part exchange stock coming into the market.

‘Despite that increase in supply prices look as though they will be strong during the summer, but we will have to wait to see how economic conditions will impact prices during the autumn.’

The average asking price in July for a Peugeot 2008, up to one year old and in Allure, petrol, manual trim was £15,368 – £2,550 or 19.9 per cent more than in June.

Used car prices are expected to take a turn downwards, though.

Article courtesy - Car Dealer Magazine
cardealermagazine.co.uk/publish/used-car-pricing-in-the-uk-was-the-strongest-in-europe-in-july-as-demand-exceeded-supply




SMTA Pledge to “continue the fight” over unfair and unjust Covid Retail Grant refusals!
13 Aug 2020

Update from SMTA's Chief Executive, Sandy Burgess:

SMTA Pledge to “continue the fight” over unfair and unjust Covid Retail Grant refusals!

Below, you will find links to the various response notes associated with our recent review of the legal opportunity to challenge the Scottish Government with regards to their “discrimination” towards our sector by excluding repair workshops from obtaining the grant simply because they do not sell cars or vans!

Regrettably you will note that the legal counsel we enlisted has after extensive research, has advised us that there would be no benefit from taking such a case to court, he does however still maintain that the findings are at best unpalatable and at worst wholly unfair, I, for one agree with the latter. He further suggests that we have to maintain our lobbying efforts to the Scottish Government and their 32 councils and with this in mind, I have been in contact with the Labour Party who have agreed to put several Freedom of Information requests into the Scottish Government, these are;

1. Please advise (a) how many mechanic garages have applied for business support grants. (b) how many of these have applications have been successful.  (c) the total sum of payments to date.

2. Please advise what determination the local authority has made as to whether or not mechanic garages are eligible for support, and on what basis this decision has been  made.

We will maintain our position on this and keep the fight going for as long as it is possible, I understand that this outcome will disappoint you at this very difficult time however you can be assured of the SMTA’s commitment on this matter.

On another note please keep an eye out for an important announcement early next week regarding challenging this year’s rates bill!

Note 1 - Legal Reply
Note 2 - Policy Note
Note 3 - Non Domestic Rates Regs 2020
Note 4 - Local Government Finance Circular

Cox Automotive - July market tracker - Cars & Dealer sentiment survey - summer 2020
12 Aug 2020

Cox Automotive:

Please find our monthly overview of the car market along with the results and supporting dealer sentiment survey – summer 2020 COVID-19 attached.

This month:

  • Optimism remains in the industry that demand within the used market will continue
  • Desirable retail stock remains in high demand
  • Many retailers are reporting that they are pleasantly surprised with the market’s performance


Face Coverings - Scottish Government update
11 Aug 2020

SMTA has had confirmation today from the Scottish Government that there is NO change to the existing regulations regarding the motor trade wearing masks.  They have however, advised that face shields no longer meet the definition of a 'face covering' as they do not provide adequate protection against transmission.

The guidelines for SMTA members remains the same:

ENSURE THAT THERE IS A SAFE TWO METRE DISTANCE BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR CUSTOMERS AT ALL TIMES, OR INSTALL A SAFETY CLEAR BARRIER BETWEEN YOUR STAFF AND THE VISITORS TO YOUR SITE.

 

 



DVSA Beat the Rush Campaign toolkit
11 Aug 2020

DVSA have produced some images for Facebook, Twitter and your email signature for to urge consumers to 'Beat the Rush' and book their MOT for September and October early to avoid the rush.



Campaign Toolkit
Email footer image
Facebook post image
Twitter post image

HMRC: Important information about the Job Retention Bonus
10 Aug 2020

Update from HMRC:

We’re writing to let you know that we have published additional information on the Job Retention Bonus, including details on how to check if you’re eligible and what you need to do now to get ready to claim.

You can find this by going to GOV‌.UK and searching ‘Job Retention Bonus – Policy Statement’.

Job Retention Bonus

Employers will be able to claim a one-off payment of £1,000 for every employee they have previously received a grant for under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), and who remains continuously employed through to the end of Ja‌nu‌ar‌y 2021.

To be eligible, the employee must have received earnings in November, December and January, and must have been paid an average of at least £520 per month, and a total of at least £1,560 across the three months.

As the employer, you will be able to claim the bonus after you have filed PAYE information for Ja‌nu‌ar‌y 2021, and the bonus will be paid from Fe‌br‌ua‌ry 2021. More detailed guidance, including how you can claim the bonus online, will be available by the end of September.

What you need to do now

If you intend to claim the Job Retention Bonus you must:

  • ensure all your employee records are up to date;
  • accurately report employees’ details and wages on the Full Payment Submission (FPS) through the Real Time Information (RTI) reporting system;
  • make sure all of your CJRS claims have been accurately submitted and you have told us about any changes needed (for example if you’ve received too much or too little).

Reminder of changes to CJRS

From 1 Au‌gu‌st 2020 CJRS continues to provide grants for furloughed employees but no longer funds employers’ National Insurance (NI) and pensions contributions. You now have to make these payments from your own resources for all employees, whether furloughed or not. Our guidance has been updated to reflect these changes.

Further guidance and live webinars offering more support on changes to the scheme and how they impact you are available to book online – go to GOV‌.UK and search 'help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus'. 

Please only contact us if you can’t find the information you need from GOV‌.UK. This will leave our phone lines and webchat service open for those who need them most. 

Making sure your data is right

It’s important that you provide the data we need to process your claim. Payment of your grant may be at risk or delayed if you submit a claim that is incomplete or incorrect. We may be in touch to request employee data if it’s missing from your previous claims.

National Insurance numbers

You need to provide a National Insurance number (NINO) for all employees as part of your CJRS claim. The only exception is in the very limited circumstances where an employee genuinely does not have a NINO, for example if they are under 16 years old.

If you are claiming for an employee whose NINO you don’t currently know, you can check their number by searching GOV.UK for 'Check a National Insurance Number using basic PAYE Tools'.

We can no longer accept claims for fewer than 100 employees by phone where you do not have all employee NINO's unless the employees you are claiming for genuinely do not have these.

Claimed too much in error?

If you have claimed too much for a CJRS grant and have not repaid it, you must notify us and repay the money by the latest of whichever date applies below:

  • 90 days after receiving the CJRS money you’re not entitled to
  • 90 days from when circumstances changed so that you were no longer entitled to keep the CJRS grant
  • 20 Oc‌to‌be‌r 2020 if you received CJRS money you’re not entitled to or if your circumstances changed on or before 22 J‌ul‌y.

If you do not do this, you may have to pay a penalty. We do understand mistakes happen, particularly in these challenging times, and will not seek out innocent errors and small mistakes for compliance action. We will act, however, against anyone who deliberately sets out to defraud the system or claims money they aren’t entitled to.

How to let us know about claiming too much

If you have received more than you are entitled to, you can let us know as part of your next online claim without needing to call us – the system will prompt you to add details on if you have received too much. For more information, search for ‘if you claim too much or not enough from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ on GOV‌.UK.

If you received too much and do not plan to submit further claims – or you have claimed less than you were entitled to – please contact us by searching 'Contact HMRC' on GOV‌.UK.



Covid-19 - Occupational Risk Assessment Guidance
10 Aug 2020

From the Scottish Government:

This guidance explains the risk assessment process in relation to the specific risk of COVID-19 to individuals in the workplace. In particular, this is relevant to those staff members who are returning to work after shielding, those who are returning to normal duties after COVID-19 related restrictions, those who are returning to the workplace after working from home or anyone who has a concern about a particular vulnerability to COVID-19. There are three things which affect
the occupational health risk from COVID-19:

• Prevalence of COVID-19 in Scotland
• Workplace considerations to protect staff from COVID-19
• Personal characteristics that affect outcome from COVID-19

Click here to open the risk assessment guidance

Scottish Government COVID-19 Update: responses to AGER and ESSB reports
05 Aug 2020

The Scottish Government has today (Wednesday 5 August) published responses to the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery (AGER) report and the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board (ESSB) report.

 

Our responses include targeted measures to build a stronger, fairer and greener economic future for Scotland in the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The AGER response also confirms that we have accepted recommendations from the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board on enhanced partnership working with Industry Leadership Groups.

 

The responses can be viewed here:

 

Economic Recovery Implementation Plan: The Scottish Government's response to the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery

 

The Scottish Government’s response to the Report by the Enterprise & Skills Strategic Board sub-group on measures to mitigate the labour market impacts from COVID-19



Increase in car sales in Scotland for July
05 Aug 2020

Please click this link for our latest car registration data for July 2020:

Coronavirus Job Retention Bonus - Update
05 Aug 2020

Update courtesy Just Employment Law: www.justemploymentlaw.co.uk

The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s “Plan for Jobs” which can be accessed here, further information has now been released on the Government’s Job Retention Bonus.

The Government has confirmed that the Job Retention Bonus is a one-off payment of £1,000 (which will be taxable) which employers can claim for all employees, including office holders, company directors, agency workers and those employed by umbrella companies, who meet the following criteria:

  • They met the eligibility criteria for furlough, and were furloughed, under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS);
  • They were continuously employed since the most recent claim through to 31 January 2021;
  • They were paid an average of at least £520 per month between 1 November 2020 and 31 January 2021 (a total of at least £1,560 across the 3 months). Only earnings recorded through HMRC Real Time Information (RTI) records count towards the average minimum earnings threshold. The employee will not need to have been paid £520 in each of these months but must have some earnings recorded in each of the three months which have been paid and reported to HMRC via RTI. Further guidance is expected in this respect in September 2020;
  • The employer has up to date RTI records in respect of the employee for the period to the end of January 2021; and
  • The employee is not serving out a contractual or statutory notice period that started before 1 February 2021 for the employer making the claim.

In addition, the Government have confirmed that claims for the Job Retention Bonus can be made in respect of:

  • Employees of a previous business which were transferred to a new employer under TUPE regulations or PAYE business succession rules, as long as the transferred employees were furloughed and successfully claimed for under the CJRS by their new employer before 31 October 2020.
  • Employees who were on statutory parental leave or mobilised as a military reservist, who returned from that leave or period of mobilisation after 10 June 2020 and were claimed for under the CJRS.
  • Fixed term employees who the employer claimed for under the CJRS.

The Government has confirmed that employers will be able to claim the bonus through the gov.uk website from February 2021. More guidance is expected on how to claim by the end of September 2020.

In the meantime, if you intend to claim the bonus in respect of your employees, you should ensure:

  • that all CJRS claims have been, and continue to be, accurately submitted (notifying HMRC of any necessary amendments); and
  • that your employee records are up-to-date, including accurately reporting your employee’s details and wages on the Full Payment Submission through the RTI reporting system.

More information on the Job Retention Bonus can be accessed here.

If you would like to discuss the above, or you require support or advice on any other employment law matters, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the team on 0141 331 5150.



How changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on 31 July impact you
29 Jul 2020

Update from HMRC:

We’re writing to remind you about changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) from 31 J‌ul‌y and what to do if you have claimed too much.

What you need to do before 31 J‌ul‌y

  • Submit your CJRS claim for periods ending on or before 30 June 2020 by 31 J‌ul‌y 2020. This is the last date you can make those claims. You need to have made a claim at any point on or before 31 J‌ul‌y to be able to make a claim for future months.
  • Amend your previous claims to add any additional employees you may have missed off in error. After 31 July you will not be able to add any new employees for periods ending on or before 30 June.

What you need to do from 1 Au‌gu‌st

  • From 1 Au‌gu‌st 2020 the scheme will no longer fund employers’ National Insurance (NI) and pensions contributions. You will have to make these payments from your own resources for all employees, whether furloughed or not.

Live webinars offering more support on changes to the scheme and how they impact you are available to book online – go to GOV‌.UK and search 'help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus'. 

Please check GOV‌.UK and join one of our webinars if you need further help. This will leave our phone lines open for those who need them most. 

Make sure your data is right

It’s important that you provide the data we need to process your claim. Payment of your grant may be at risk or delayed if you submit a claim that is incomplete or incorrect.

Claimed too much in error?

If you have claimed too much for a CJRS grant and have not repaid it, you must notify us and repay the money by the latest of whichever date applies below:

  • 90 days of receiving the CJRS money you’re not entitled to
  • 90 days of when circumstances changed so that you were no longer entitled to keep the CJRS grant
  • 20 Oc‌to‌be‌r 2020 if you received CJRS money you’re not entitled to, or if your circumstances changed, on or before 20 J‌ul‌y.

If you do not do this, you may have to pay a penalty.

How to let us know about claiming too much

You can let us know as part of your next online claim without needing to call us – the system will prompt you to add details on if you have received too much.

If you received too much and do not plan to submit further claims – or you have claimed less than you were entitled to – please contact us by searching ‘Contact HMRC' on GOV‌.UK.

We are supporting our customers while tackling serious fraud and criminal attacks. We understand mistakes happen, particularly in these challenging times, and will not seek out innocent errors and small mistakes for compliance action. For more information, search for ‘if you claim too much or not enough from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ on GOV‌.UK.

Claiming for 100 or more employees?

Please use our standard template to submit your employees’ details. It is important that you submit the correct data (including National Insurance numbers) in the correct format.

You can find the template on GOV‌.UK by searching ‘Job Retention Scheme template download’.

Looking for help to work out your claim?

Please use our online calculator to help you calculate your next claim.

You can find this and guidance on how to use it by searching ‘calculate how much you can claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ on GOV‌.UK.



June New Car Registrations
23 Jul 2020

Please find a link below to the latest Scottish car figures.

June 2020 Car Registrations

We are DVSA: Annual Review 2019 to 2020
21 Jul 2020

Over the last year, DVSA's staff have worked hard to help everyone stay safe on Britain's roads.  Please see below a letter from Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA Chief Executive, presenting the ‘We are DVSA: Annual Review 2019 to 2020’. 

The review demonstrates we achieved all our Business Plan objectives this year, but, along with the rest of the world, we’ve been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It also sets out the significant improvements we have made to our services, contributing to our vision of safer drivers, safer vehicles and safer journeys for all.

We recognise that stakeholder engagement, collaboration and continuous improvement are essential to road safety.  Because of coronavirus, the future is not as certain as it could be, but we look forward to working with you during 2020 to 2021. We will learn from the impact of the pandemic and review our 5-year strategy in its light. Together, we will continue to keep people safe on Britain’s roads.



Dear stakeholder,

We are DVSA: Annual Review 2019 to 2020

Over the last year, DVSA's staff have worked hard to help everyone stay safe on Britain's
roads. I am delighted to present the ‘We are DVSA: Annual Review 2019 to 2020’, which
demonstrates we achieved all our Business Plan objectives this year, but, along with the
rest of the world, we’ve been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It also
sets out the significant improvements we have made to our services, contributing to our
vision of safer drivers, safer vehicles and safer journeys for all.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been an unprecedented challenge, resulting in
many changes to our way of life. In March we took the difficult decision to suspend most
of DVSA’s services, in line with public health guidance. Our priority over the past three
months has been to keep people safe, whilst still providing a critical worker testing service
to support the national emergency response.

Many people have lost their lives or their loved ones to coronavirus and, to them, we
extend our heartfelt sympathy. This is a more muted than usual celebration of what DVSA
has achieved. But we want to acknowledge our colleagues’ great work in 2019 to 2020,
and after the pandemic hit in March 2020.

Coronavirus response

We had to act quickly to keep colleagues and customers safe, while making sure we met
critical workers’ needs. You can read more about how we have responded to COVID-19
on pages 48 and 49. But, in summary we:
• suspended the driving test for most candidates
• set up a system for critical workers to book tests in all categories
• conducted driving tests for NHS and care workers, allocating driving examiners who
were medically fit and who had volunteered to support the national response
• prioritised special ambulance vehicle tests to support the NHS response
• granted MOT extensions on all vehicles
• continued to protect you from unsafe vehicles, while maintaining social distancing
As part of the planning to restart our services, we:
• worked with national stakeholder groups on how to safely restart our services.
Together, we gathered customer feedback, which has helped us to plan how to
return to normal levels of service
• worked with Trade Unions to address staff concerns
• kept customers and staff informed through a detailed communications plan

Significant achievements

Coronavirus is the biggest and most complex challenge the country has faced in a
generation. However, before its onset in March, DVSA was working hard throughout 2019
to 2020 to meet the commitments in our 5-year strategy. We have presented our most
significant achievements in ‘We are DVSA: Annual Review 2019 to 2020’.

Some of the highlights include:

• We digitised the practical driving test
We modernised the way driving examiners conduct and record a practical driving
test, with the development of the Driving Examiner Service (DES) app. The new
app provides a quicker and more accurate digital process on the examiner’s iPad.
• Rollout of the vehicle testing app for testing at ATFs
We developed and rolled-out a vehicle testing app to allow our vehicle standards
assessors (VSAs) to record all bus, lorry and coach tests digitally.
• National Automatic number plate recognition Service
Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) uses cameras to capture and record
the registration and image of a vehicle. In 2019 we began to look at the value of
joining the National ANPR Service (NAS), with its 10,000 cameras. We saw NAS
bring real benefits to DVSA’s enforcement, with the wider camera infrastructure
allowing us to tackle non-compliance more effectively.
• We won an International Road Safety Award
Ridefree is the award-winning enhanced compulsory basic training course (CBT) for
completely new learner riders. We supported Highways England in its development.
All motorcycle training schools will have free access to this content.
• Our learning materials reached a huge audience

In partnership with The Stationery Office, we produce learning materials for drivers
and riders at all stages of their learning. Since we launched our Theory Test and
Highway Code apps, we’ve sold over 3 million.

This is my last Annual Review, as I had decided to step down as CEO in December. I
leave DVSA in very good hands – including those of our new Non-Executive Chair, Shrin
Honap. I will, of course, share news about my successor when I can.

We recognise that stakeholder engagement, collaboration and continuous improvement
are essential to road safety. Because of coronavirus, the future is not as certain as it could
be. But we look forward to working with you during 2020 to 2021. We will learn from the
impact of the pandemic and review our 5-year strategy in its light. Together, we will
continue to keep people safe on Britain’s roads.

HMRC: Important information on claiming for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
21 Jul 2020

HMRC Update:

We’re writing to remind you about key dates for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and actions you might need to take.

Key dates

  • Submit your CJRS claim for periods ending on or before 30‌‌‌ ‌June 2020 by 31‌‌‌ ‌July 2020. This is the last date you can make those claims. You need to have made a claim at any point on or before 31‌‌‌ ‌July to be able to make a claim for future months.
  • From 1‌‌‌ ‌August 2020 the scheme will no longer fund employers’ National Insurance (NI) and pensions contributions for furloughed employees. You will have to make these payments from your own resources.
  • From 1‌‌‌ ‌September 2020 you will have to start contributing to the wages of your furloughed employees. Grants will be for 70% of usual wages in September and 60% in October, but furloughed employees will continue to be entitled to receive at least 80% of their usual wages. You will have to make up the difference from your own resources.

Live webinars offering more support on changes to the scheme, and how they impact you, are available to book online – go to GOV‌‌‌‌.UK and search 'help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus'.

Please check GOV‌‌‌.UK and join one of our webinars if you need further help. This will leave our phone lines open for those who need them most.

Make sure your data is right

It’s important that you provide the data we need to process your claim. Payment of your grant may be at risk or delayed if you submit a claim that is incomplete or incorrect.

If you are claiming for 100 or more employees, please use our standard template to submit your employees’ details. It is important that you submit the correct data (including National Insurance numbers) in the correct format.

You can find this template by searching 'Job Retention Scheme template download' on GOV‌‌‌‌.UK.

More information about the Job Retention Bonus

We wrote to you recently about the introduction of the Job Retention Bonus – a one-off payment of £1,000 to employers who have claimed under CJRS for each furloughed employee who remains continuously employed until at least 31‌‌‌ ‌January 2021.

More information about this scheme will be available on 31‌‌‌ ‌July.

Incorrect claims

CJRS grants are to cover the costs of your furloughed employees' wages (and related payroll taxes, National Insurance and pension contributions until 31‌‌‌ ‌July). We may withhold or recover grants if they are claimed based on dishonest or inaccurate information.

We’re contacting a number of employers at the moment to check that they have claimed the correct amount.

If you have made an incorrect claim that meant you claimed too much, you can let us know as part of your next online claim without needing to call us. If you have made an error and do not plan to submit further claims, or you have claimed less than you were entitled to, please contact us by searching 'Contact HMRC' on GOV‌‌‌‌.UK.



Scottish Government official guidance on face masks in car showrooms
08 Jul 2020

The Scottish Government have confirmed the rules that will apply on Friday the 10th of July in a letter to the SMTA Chief Executive, Sandy Burgess. Commenting on the letter he stated "that it was encouraging to note that there is no requirement for our dealer staff to wear face masks if they are able to ensure that the two metre social distancing rules are adhered to, or that they are able to provide a physical barrier between the customers and the staff".

To keep it simple, ENSURE THAT THERE IS A SAFE TWO METRE DISTANCE BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR CUSTOMERS AT ALL TIMES, OR INSTALL A SAFETY CLEAR BARRIER BETWEEN YOUR STAFF AND THE VISITORS TO YOUR SITE.

Flexible Furlough Agreement - FREE TEMPLATES
30 Jun 2020



Lawgistics suggest that the employers should ask the employees to sign a flexible furlough agreement or state their acceptance in writing. This will avoid any doubts and ensure compliance with relevant employment laws as well as the furlough scheme.


Below is the suggested template of agreement to put your employees on flexible furlough.



On 25 June the Treasury issued its third Direction covering the flexible furlough scheme. In somewhat of a double turn, the requirement for the employee not to do any work during furlough hours is back. This time an instruction will suffice, instead of an agreement. 

Interestingly, the Direction also applies the requirement not to do any work when defining which employees are considered as previously furloughed under the original scheme and may be put on flexible furlough.

The Direction also clarifies that the purpose of CJRS is to continue employment.  This raises the question whether notice pay can be claimed through the furlough scheme. It was widely understood furlough claim can include notice pay. So far, we are awaiting further guidance on this issue.


Employers are required to keep the furlough agreement or confirmation of the agreement at least until 30 June 2025, this is now a condition of the scheme.


Mandatory MOT testing to be reintroduced from 1 August
29 Jun 2020

Update from DVSA:

  • mandatory MOT tests for car, motorcycle and van owners in England, Scotland and Wales to be reintroduced to keep roads safe
  • drivers encouraged to book a test in advance to ensure vehicles are in a roadworthy condition
  • vehicle owners with an MOT due date before 1 August will still receive a 6-month exemption

Mandatory MOT testing is to be reintroduced from 1 August 2020 as COVID-19 restrictions are slowly lifted, Roads minister Baroness Vere has announced today (29 June 2020).

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, drivers were granted a 6-month exemption from MOT testing in March to help slow the spread of the virus. However, as restrictions are eased when safe to do so, all drivers whose car, motorcycle or van is due for an MOT test from 1 August will be required to get a test certificate to continue driving their vehicle.

MOT tests are important for road safety and ensure that vehicle parts, including tyres, seatbelts, brakes, lights and exhausts, are in proper working order.

Drivers with an MOT due date before 1 August will still receive a 6-month exemption from testing. However, all vehicles must continue to be properly maintained and kept in a roadworthy condition, and people are able to voluntarily get their MOT sooner should they wish, even if they are exempt from the legal requirement. Motorists can be prosecuted for driving an unsafe vehicle.

Roads Minister Baroness Vere said:

As people return to our roads, it is vital that motorists are able to keep their vehicles safe. That’s why as restrictions are eased, from 1 August MOT testing will again become mandatory.

Garages across the country are open and I urge drivers who are due for their MOT to book a test as soon they can.

Only some garages remained open to conduct essential services during the coronavirus outbreak, but now over 90% are open across the country. Testing capacity has already reached 70% of normal levels and is steadily increasing.

While exemptions are still available for vehicle owners with an MOT due date before 1 August, it is vital that drivers still take their vehicle to be checked if they notice something is wrong in the same way that they usually would.

If drivers are vulnerable or self-isolating they should contact their local garage as many are offering pick-up and drop-off services, so drivers can get their car checked without having to visit a garage.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has also issued guidance to all MOT testers about safely conducting tests in line with the latest government advice.



12 measures for the recovery & post-COVID-19 measures
29 Jun 2020

12 measures for the recovery & post-COVID-19 measures – Release of the joint position paper.

This link is a joint position Executive Summary on COVID-19 (focused on the aftermarket) signed by CECRA together with 6 other EU associations.

                                                                           You can also read the Press Release on this here.




Labour Market Insights
29 Jun 2020

See below a link to the latest Labour Market insights from Skills Development Scotland.

https://www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk/what-we-do/skills-planning/covid-19-labour-market-insights/

SMTA Member Update 26.6.20
29 Jun 2020

Please click the link below for our latest members' update.  This update includes a link to our newsletter regarding the non payment of business support grants to some of our members.

Member Update 12

SMTA Member Update 11 - 19th June
19 Jun 2020

Please find below a link to our member update which includes a message from Sandy Burgess regarding car showrooms not allowed to open until 29 June 2020.

Member Update 11

Disappointing news from Scottish First Minister re car showrooms not being allowed to open!
18 Jun 2020

SMTA today sought clarification from the Scottish Government to find out if the easing of restrictions going into Phase 2 meant that car showrooms could now open. Sadly, we have been advised that this is not the case and from the letter below you will see that this has been given a date of 29 June, this is hugely disappointing news for the Scottish motor trade.

Letter received from Scottish Government below:



Dear Sandy,

Thank you for your e-mail to the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture. I have been asked to respond on her behalf.

In previous correspondence to you of 8 June, the Economy Secretary confirmed car showrooms would be permitted to reopen part of their sales area in Phase 2, in line with physical distancing guidelines. As outlined in this letter, our guidance is updated and reviewed every three weeks in line with the Scottish Government's lockdown review process

Following today’s announcement by the First Minister and publication of the Updated Route Map which outlines the order in which we will carefully and gradually lift lockdown restrictions, I can confirm that all street-access retail throughout Scotland can re-open from 29 June. This includes car showrooms.

Please note, this updated guidance no longer places a restriction on the size of sales area permitted to reopen. For clarity, this means that the previous restriction whereby units larger than 800m2 would have to wait until Phase 3 to reopen no longer applies.

I hope you find this information helpful.

Yours sincerely,

 

Scottish Government



Deferral of VAT payments as a result of COVID-19
18 Jun 2020

Update from HMRC:

As part of the government’s support for businesses during COVID-19, HMRC gave businesses the option of deferring their VAT payments if they were unable to pay on time, without incurring late payment interest or penalties. Payment of VAT falling due between 20‌‌ March and 30‌‌ June 2020 can be deferred until 31‌‌ March 2021.

You must continue to file your VAT return on time, even if you defer payment.

We're writing to remind you that the option to defer paying VAT ends on 30‌‌ June 2020. This means that VAT returns with a payment due date after 30‌‌ June must be paid in full, on time.

If you haven't deferred any VAT payments, you don't need to take any further action. If you have deferred paying your VAT and normally pay by Direct Debit you should now reinstate it.

You should do this at least three working days before submitting your VAT return in order for HMRC to take payment. For further details go to GOV‌‌.UK and search for 'Pay your VAT bill'.

Please do not call us for more information, everything you need to know is on GOV.UK. This will leave our phone lines open for those who need them most.

Remember, any VAT payments you have deferred during this period should be paid in full on or before 31‌‌ March 2021. You can make ad hoc payments or additional payments with your subsequent VAT returns to reduce the amount outstanding, if you wish.

If you're unable to pay the VAT due and need additional time to pay, please contact HMRC before the payment is due. For help go to GOV‌‌.UK and search for 'If you cannot pay your tax bill on time', or call 0300 200 3835. If you do call, please quote 'V1'.



Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – new guidance published
15 Jun 2020

HMRC Update:

What the new online guidance covers

The guidance includes:

  • changes to the scheme and key dates that you need to be aware of
  • how you can claim if you bring previously furloughed employees back to work part-time from 1‌‌ July (known as flexible furloughing) and how many employees you can claim for in any one claim
  • how to claim, and the information you’ll need to do so
  • how to work out how much you can claim, including an online calculator to help you
  • more information on amending your claim.

Webinars offering more support on changes to the scheme and how they impact you are now available to book online – go to GOV‌‌‌.UK and search 'help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus'.

We’d be grateful if you don’t call us for more information. All details are on GOV‌‌.UK and in our webinars. This will leave our phone lines open for those who need them most.

What you need to do now

  • read the guidance to see how changes to the scheme impact you, using the calculator to understand how much you’ll be able to claim
  • book a webinar via GOV‌‌.UK if you’d like more support
  • consider which employees you want to keep on full-time furlough and which employees will come back to work – on what hours – to agree arrangements with them as needed for your business.

What you need to do from July

  • start your flexible furloughing of employees from 1‌‌ July onwards. You can decide the hours and shift patterns they work to suit the needs of your business – you’ll pay their wages for the time they’re in work and can apply for a job retention scheme grant to cover any of their usual hours they are still furloughed for. You can still keep employees on full furlough if you need to
  • claim for periods ending on or before 30‌‌ June, by 31‌‌ J‌ul‌y – this is the last date you can make those claims
  • claim for further furlough periods as needed – the first time you will be able to make a claim for days in July will be 1‌‌ July.


SMTA Member Update 10
12 Jun 2020

Please find below this week's update for our member's of the latest news relating to the motor trade in Scotland.  Also this week SMTA feature in the Daily Record see link below:

Member Update 10

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/motoring/a-positive-move-for-showrooms-22175041

Fiona Hyslop reply to SMTA re car showrooms opening
08 Jun 2020

Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Economy Fair Work and Culture, Fiona Hyslop confirms some car showrooms in Scotland can open in Phase 2.

Letter from Fiona Hyslop can be read here.

If anyone has any queries please contact Sandy Burgess, SMTA Chief Executive sandy.burgess@smta.co.uk
my, Fair Work and Culture

SMTA fears Scotland’s COVID-19 'politics' will cost car retail jobs
08 Jun 2020

The Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA) has said that the politics of COVID-19 North of the border will cost car dealers financially and result in disproportionate job losses across the UK's devolved regions.

The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) revealed the contents of a letter from Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture, Fiona Hyslop MSP, which clearly stated that click and collect car sales could be completed during Scotland’s COVID-19 lockdown - provided customers do not enter the showroom environment.

Furthermore, it stated that retailers “may open up to 800 m2 of their sales area, permitting some larger retail outlets such as car showrooms to re-open in Phase 2” of the country’s re-opening plan, which is expected from June 18.

But SMTA CEO, Sandy Burgess, has despaired at the lack of clarity from the Scottish Government to date and said that Scottish car retailers, and the economy, stand to lose out due to the disparity between COVID-19 policy across the UK's devolved nations in a week that saw dealers in England re-open their showroom doors to customers.

“We have been left in a political situation and that shouldn’t be the case,” said Burgess. “This is a health crisis first and foremost, then an economic crisis. The last thing COVID needs to be turned into is a political crisis.”

Burgess said that the decision to keep car showrooms in Scotland closed as their English counterparts re-opened would cost SMTA members financially.

Stalling the ability to trade would dent revenues and also see Scottish dealers suffer more severely from the start of used car pricing movements as the larger English car market begun to trade once again.

And where the NFDA finally received their clarification on Scottish automotive retail’s re-opening schedule this week, Burgess said that many of his numerous questions directed to the Scottish Government in written correspondence remained unanswered.

He said: “Our members have been put in a position where they cannot even plan for a return to showrooms trading as their English counterparts start to ramp-up their operations.

“It’s short-sighted and I fear it will cost the sector economically and in the form of jobs.”

In a public address yesterday (June 4), Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that “alongside a public health emergency, we are also now dealing with an economic emergency, on a scale none of us have experienced”.

Sturgeon highlighted the allocation of £2.3 billion to help businesses in Scotland through measures such as grants and business rates relief, “in addition to welcome UK Government measures such as the furlough scheme”.

As of yesterday, Scottish traders are also a little clearer about the scope of their current ability to trade and their showroom re-opening plans, although larger dealerships may still have questions about the legislation.

In her latter to the NFDA, Fiona Hyslop MSP wrote: “This guidance states that retailers may open up to 800 m2 of their sales area, permitting some larger retail outlets such as car showrooms to re-open in Phase 2. Retail units larger than 800sq-m will be permitted to open in Phase 3.

“Each business will need to translate this guidance into the specific actions it needs to take depending on the nature of their business (i.e. the size and type of business, how it is organised, operated, managed and regulated).

“Our guidance has been designed to be applied to cover the spectrum of different retailers in Scotland and we have prepared an operational guide for retailers which includes a downloadable checklist with actions to consider.”

Hyslop added: “As you can appreciate, this is a rapidly evolving situation and our guidance will be updated and reviewed every three weeks in line with the Scottish Government's lockdown review.”

Credit: AM Online



Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Important Dates
08 Jun 2020

As part of changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), They've outlined below important dates that may impact you in the coming weeks.

Important dates – what you need to know now

  • The scheme will close to anyone who hasn’t been furloughed for 3 weeks by 30 June, so you will only be able to claim for employees after that if they have been furloughed for a full three-week period at any time before the end of June.
  • So, if you intend to furlough an employee who hasn’t been furloughed before, you will need to agree that with them and start their period of furlough on or before 10 J‌un‌e – this is the last day on which someone who has never been furloughed before can start a period of furlough and qualify for the scheme – this ensures the minimum three-week period is complete by 30 J‌un‌e.
  • You will then have until 31 J‌ul‌y to make a claim for any periods of furlough up until 30 J‌un‌e – this applies to both employees furloughed for the first time and those you have previously furloughed and claimed for.

The future of the scheme

  • The rules of the scheme are changing from 1 J‌ul‌y.
  • On 12 J‌un‌e, we’ll publish full guidance on all the scheme changes on GOV.UK – search for 'Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' to find this – webinars offering more support on the changes will also be available to book online from 12 June – please do not call us for more information, as everything you need to know about the scheme changes will be published online on GOV‌.UK.
  • From 1 July, you’ll have the flexibility to bring previously furloughed employees back to work part time, you can decide the hours and shift patterns they work to suit the needs of your business – you’ll pay their wages for the time they’re in work and can apply for a scheme grant to cover any of their normal hours they are still furloughed for.
  • Also, for periods starting on or after the 1 J‌ul‌y, the maximum number of employees you can claim for in any period cannot be higher than the maximum number you have claimed for in a previous period. For example, if your highest single claim for periods up to 30 J‌un‌e was for 100 people, you can’t claim for more than this number in later periods.
  • From 1 Au‌gu‌st, you will need to contribute towards the wage costs of your furloughed employees until the scheme ends on 31 Oc‌to‌be‌r.

Making changes to your claims if you have over-claimed

If you’ve made an error in a CJRS claim that means you received too much money, you must pay this back to HMRC.

We’ve updated the application system so you can tell us if you have over-claimed in a previous claim – when you apply you’ll be asked if you need to reduce the amount to take account of a previous error. Your new claim amount will be reduced to reflect this. You should then keep a record of this adjustment for six years.

If you have made an error in a CJRS claim and do not plan to submit further claims, we are working on a process that will allow you to let us know about your error and pay back any amounts that you have over-claimed. We will update guidance and keep you informed when this is available.



SMTA Member Update - including update on Business Support Grants and MOT extension
05 Jun 2020

Please find the link below to our latest members' update.  Updated information on business support grants and MOT extension from our Chief Executive, Sandy Burgess.

If any of our member's have any queries or questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Member Update 9

Letter re DVSA MOT extension

ULEV Skills Baselining Study—final report
04 Jun 2020

ULEV Skills Baselining Study—final report

We have now received a copy of the complete study on Ultra Low Emission Vehicles carried out by Optimat which many of your may have participated in, please see below for links to read the findings along with an infographic.

Final study can be viewed here
Accompanying infographic can be viewed here

Exclusive member offer from Just Employment Law
03 Jun 2020

We are conscious that a number of our smaller members will be in need of increased professional support on employment and personnel issues during these difficult times.  With this in mind, and in conjunction with our partners, Just Employment Law, the SMTA is pleased to be able to offer all members with up to 10 employees, unlimited expert employment law advice and support from JEL on a retainer basis for a 6 month period – all for a fixed fee of £500 plus VAT (this can be paid in monthly instalments).

Each member who takes up this offer will be assigned their own solicitor from JEL’s experienced team and the retainer will also include unlimited drafting on employment matters as well as the drafting of contracts and staff handbooks.  The offer is open to any SMTA member with up to 10 employees and the promotion will run throughout the months of June and July. 

Members wishing to take advantage of this offer should contact JEL directly on 0141 331 5150 / enquiries@justemploymentlaw.co.uk quoting “SMTA6”.  Preferential rates are also open to SMTA members who have more than 10 employees and who are in need of support at this time and JEL can be contacted via the same contact details.

 



Flexible Furloughing available from 1 July
02 Jun 2020

On Friday 29 May 2020, the Chancellor of the Exchequer set out several key changes to the CJRS, which are due to be implemented gradually over the next few months until the Scheme closes altogether on 31 October 2020.

Briefly, the main changes can be summarised as follows:

10 June 2020 will be the last day employers can place employees on furlough if those employees have not been furloughed previously;

From 1 July 2020, “flexible furloughing” will be allowed, whereby employers can agree with employees to bring them back to work part-time (on potentially any hours and/or shift pattern the employer needs) whilst still keeping them on furlough for the remainder of their weekly contractual hours;

From 1 August 2020, employers will no longer be able to reclaim employer’s National Insurance and pension contributions in respect of any employees remining on furlough;

From 1 September 2020, the government will only reimburse 70% of a furloughed employee’s salary (up to a maximum of £2,190). Employers will be required to top this up to 80% (or more, depending on what has previously been agreed with the employee);

From 1 October 2020, the government will only reimburse 60% of salary (up to a maximum of £1,875), with employers having to continue to top up to 80% (or more, as above).

Courtesy of Just Employment Law

SMTA feature in Daily Record - Scotland's car dealers 'are raring to go'
01 Jun 2020

SCOTLAND’S automotive industry chiefs have called on the Holyrood Government to allow the immediate reopening of dealerships.

Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA) chief executive Sandy Burgess told Road Record: “Our message to Ministers is that we’re ready to go now. All dealers have taken very robust measures to tackle the coronavirus threat and are all set for appointment-only opening, and we want to help kick-start the economy.”

He said the steps taken by SMTA members to make their premises as safe as possible for consumers and staff went way beyond anything customers would experience in a garden centre. He pointed out that, unlike at garden centres, queues wouldn’t be a problem for those buying a new car.

In writing to the First Minister, Mr Burgess had foreseen Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement earlier this week that showrooms in England could open from June 1.

He emphasised that car retailers were able to embrace proper levels of hygiene and safety and, as large, relatively open spaces, were well equipped to provide ample social distancing and control measures to protect both the workforce and public.

Mr Burgess wrote: “The workshops are already able to function and are very well equipped and prepared to provide a safe environment for all. The controlled opening of car showrooms is a viable and logical extension of the route back to something resembling normality.”

He also asked the Scottish Government to allow a “click and collect” system such as that being run in England. He said this would enable a backlog of cars waiting to be delivered to be shifted from the forecourts.

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/motoring/scotlands-car-dealers-are-raring-22102998



Member's weekly update
29 May 2020

Please find below this week's update for our member's of the latest news relating to fiscal measures and the motor trade in Scotland.  

Member Update 8




Important ruling by the Cartel Court in favor of motor vehicle companies,
28 May 2020

Peugeot Austria has abused market power vis-à-vis dealers

 

In a long-standing legal dispute between the Upper Austrian Peugeot dealer Büchl and Peugeot Austria (PSA), the Cartel Court ruled on 12 May at first instance that the general importer for Peugeot vehicles in Austria had infringed the prohibition of abuse of market power. The Büchl company had turned to the Cartel Court because it - like numerous other Peugeot dealers in Austria and Europe - had suffered from oppressive requirements imposed by PSA which caused it serious economic disadvantages and called into question its independence as an authorised Peugeot dealer.

In its decision, the Cartel Court applies not only Austrian but also European cartel law and makes extensive findings on the problematic business policy of the Peugeot brand. The Büchl case thus also has a signal effect for the dealer networks of other brands in Austria and throughout Europe.

Specifically, the court prohibited the Peugeot brand in the distribution of new cars from economically forcing the dealer to participate in promotions and thus restricting his freedom to set prices for the end customer; from linking bonus payments to the dealer to customer satisfaction surveys; from reducing the dealers' margins if they deliberately fail to achieve sales targets that PSA has deliberately exaggerated; and from competing with the dealers on the end customer market through PSA's own operations with subsidised vehicle prices. A costly control system and hourly rates that do not cover costs were banned in the workshop business, making warranty and guarantee work economically unprofitable for the dealers. Ultimately, PSA must not continue to pass on the costs of its mystery shopping and audit system for new cars and workshops to the dealers.

The Bundesgremium Fahrzeughandel and the Bundesinnung der Fahrzeugtechnik der WKÖ, the Verband österreichischer Kraftfahrzeugbetriebe (VÖK) and the Österreichischer Peugeot-Händlerverband (Austrian Peugeot Dealers Association) welcome the decision and the statements of the Cartel Court, which can be generalised and are groundbreaking beyond the individual case, as an important step towards more fairness in the manufacturer-dealer relationship in Austria and Europe. An appeal by PSA is expected.

CommR Ing. Klaus Edelsbrunner, Federal Chairman of the Board of Management of the Vehicle Dealerships underlines, "It is important that the Cartel Court has now answered a legal question that has been unclear for a long time, at least in the first instance. This at least provides guidelines for correct market conduct based on both Austrian and European law and is therefore groundbreaking for the entire industry and all brands throughout Europe".

KommR Ing. Josef Schirak, spokesman for the motor vehicle retail trade, says: "For many years now, the balance of power between manufacturer/importer and vehicle operation has been deteriorating more and more at the expense of dealers. The Cartel Court has now clarified that in many cases there has been an abuse of market power. He therefore expects the manufacturers/importers to react and to comply with the ruling of the Cartel Court and, for example, to adapt the dealer contracts. "This has clarified a longstanding development in the contractual relationship between manufacturer/importer and authorised dealers", Schirak concluded.

KommR Josef Harb, Federal Guild Master of Automotive Engineering, is pleased that this decision has not only focused on the trade in vehicles, but also on maintenance and workshop operations.

Stefan Hutschinski, Chairman of the Association of Austrian Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (VÖK) clarifies: "This is an enormously important ruling by the Cartel Court in favor of motor vehicle companies, especially now. The pressure from the manufacturers on the companies has been increasing every year - many demands have been made which are extremely questionable from an economic and antitrust point of view. This ruling is a release and the first step in the right direction. All manufacturers throughout Europe are now called upon to orientate their cooperation in a commercially reasonable and antitrust clean way

 

The Büchl company was represented in the proceedings before the Cartel Court by the Viennese law firm of Dr. Peter Thyri, which specialises in Austrian and European cartel and competition law.

 



France unveils £7.1bn rescue plan and scrappage scheme to boost its car industry
27 May 2020

President Emmanuel Macron wants France to become a leader in manufacturing electric vehicles as the government hands over £7.1bn to save the country’s car industry.

The government wants to use the crisis to make France the number one producer of electric vehicles in Europe.
From Monday, car buyers will get up to 12,000 euros (£10,669) from the government for buying an electric car under the ‘historic’ plan unveiled yesterday.

Buyers will be encouraged to scrap their old cars and buy lower-emissions models.

Macron said: ‘Our country wouldn’t be the same without its great brands – Renault, Peugeot, Citroen. We need not only to save (the industry) but transform it.’

The president said the car industry faced an ‘unprecedented crisis’ with production plunging more than 90 per cent.
Macron set a goal of producing one million electric cars in France by 2025, adding: ‘Our country should embody this avant-garde.’

Macron’s plan does not include a £4.45m French government loan guarantee under discussion for struggling Renault.
Macron said the Renault loan guarantee is contingent on keeping open two key French factories. The car firm is expected to announce a £1.78bn cost-cutting plan to unions this week.

The French president met industry representatives and unions at the Elysee presidential palace yesterday morning, then announced the investment plan on a visit to supplier Valeo, which makes equipment for electric cars, at its factory in northern France.

France’s car industry employs 400,000 people and is a big part of its manufacturing sector.  The plan to support the industry comes at a crucial time for Renault, which came into the virus crisis in particularly bad shape after the 2018 arrest of its long-time chief executive Carlos Ghosn.

French finance minister Bruno Le Maire warned the company’s survival is at stake.

Renault and Nissan have scheduled an announcement today that is expected to address the future of their alliance.
French unions blockaded a Renault plant in western France yesterday, fearing fallout from the virus could lead to widespread job losses and factory closures.

Bailouts in the country a decade ago included a government bonus plan that encouraged consumers to buy newer cars, though that did not prevent thousands of job cuts.

Article courtesy www.cardealermagazine.co.uk



Joint press release : COVID-19 : EU trade unions and automotive industry associations call for an ambitious recovery plan for the automotive sector
26 May 2020

JOINT PRESS RELEASE
 
Saving jobs while reducing emissions
 
IndustriAll Europe, Ceemet, ACEA, CLEPA, CECRA and ETRMA call for an ambitious recovery plan for the automotive sector

For many decades, the European automotive sector has been one of the key pillars of the economic and social welfare of Europe. Indirectly, the sector provides employment to 13,8 million workers. The European assembly plants still produce 1 in every 4 cars worldwide. The sector is highly innovative and accounts for 20% of industrial research funding in Europe. Europe’s automotive sector has become a global leader with a strong export orientation. It is a stronghold of European industry and a driver for jobs and economic growth across Europe. As a result of the substantial economic interlinkages with other sectors along the value chain, its importance for employment and growth for the whole economy is clear.

COVID-19 provoked an unprecedented crisis in the sector with an effective standstill of car production and distribution in Europe for several weeks. Sales came to a halt, investments have plummeted and the market introduction of new clean models has been postponed. At the same time, post-pandemic work organisation is increasing production costs.

The economic and social impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the automotive sector is particularly severe. Workers, although supported by short-time work arrangements, have seen their incomes reduced, and companies are facing cash drains as their revenues have disappeared. Currently, there is little visibility on what the future holds. If this situation persists, the sector risks a meltdown with large-scale bankruptcies and restructuring.

During the financial crisis (2008-13), the automotive sector lost 440.000 jobs (in car production and the aftermarket). If no measures are taken, this number risks being dwarfed by the current recession which may be much deeper.

Therefore, industriAll Europe, Ceemet, ACEA, CLEPA, CECRA and ETRMA, the European business organisations and the trade unions for the sector call on the European Commission for a bold industrial recovery plan. Such a plan should be based on two objectives. First of all, bringing the industry back on track by stimulating sales and reviving production, and secondly, supporting the industry in its journey towards a carbon-neutral future, based on the Green Deal and Europe’s climate objectives.

To date, the sector has been substantially investing in its transition towards the new paradigm of a carbon-neutral and digitalised economy: including, alternative powertrains, batteries, connected cars, mobility services, and automated driving. The industry can make a real contribution to the Green Deal and mitigating the climate emergency. But due to COVID-19, strong support from the national governments and the Commission is needed in order to help the sector to make the necessary investments in transitioning to decarbonisation while supporting European jobs and keeping its contribution to EU exports and the social welfare of European citizens.

To bring the sector back on track and enable it to emerge from this recession, the European automotive sector urgently needs: 

Coordinated measures to support the relaunch of the industry incl. the aftermarket with harmonised guidance on preventive health and safety measures for the workplace; coordination is also needed to avoid further disruptions in the sophisticated automotive supply chains.

Support for viable companies to maintain their resilience. To avoid stranded assets liquidity support has to be maintained as long this is needed: state aid, investment guarantees, tax breaks, soft loans

Support for companies in maintaining/developing their human capital while the income and job security of workers must be preserved e.g. through continuation of short-time work arrangements connected to skills upgrading

Introduce/reinforce temporary demand stimulus measures by vehicle renewal schemes that are coordinated on EU level and financially supported by the Commission. These measures should be eligible for latest technologies and in addition be differentiated according safety and environmental performance based on certified CO2 emissions. Demand stimulus is needed to re-start the assembly lines and to preserve jobs. It should also restore the capacity of companies to generate the cash flows they need to invest in a sustainable future.

Take into account these extraordinary circumstances when assessing the impact of regulatory reforms on the sector.
To support the sector in delivering on the digital and low-carbon transitions, we request that the European Commission takes the following actions:

Develop and maintain technological leadership by means of ambitious technology programmes to support both digital and low-carbon transitions

Provide investment support (grants, loans, equity) for the market introduction of new sustainable technologies
Accelerate the roll-out of charging and re-fuelling infrastructure for cars, vans and commercial vehicles in public, as well as private, places, and deliver at least 2 million charging points and refuelling stations across the EU for all vehicle types as indicated earlier.

Introduce/reinforce market incentives to promote the uptake of alternative powertrains
Promote industrial collaboration and industrial alliances to share the cost of the development and market introduction of new low-carbon technologies

Facilitate investments in the next generation digital infrastructure as a key enabler for more reliable connectivity between vehicles

Make use of innovative public procurement to support demand and to bring new innovations to the market
Boost investment in the research and developments as well in the production of batteries, hydrogen, and low-carbon liquid fuels, within the European Union.

Develop the circular economy connected to the automotive supply chain (recycling, re-manufacturing, re-use)
Support the many automotive SME’s in redefining their value chain positioning in a fast-changing automotive landscape

As the COVID-19 crisis has serious ramifications for jobs, industriAll Europe, Ceemet, ACEA, CLEPA, CECRA and ETRMA, call for the organisation of a just transition for every worker affected by restructuring. Solutions have to be found through timely anticipation of change, an effective social dialogue at all levels, active labour market policies, up-and re-skilling, and support to redevelopment plans for automotive regions.

IndustriAll Europe, Ceemet, ACEA, CLEPA, CECRA and ETRMA insist that the upcoming European recovery plan pays due attention to a sector that has already invested heavily in its transition and that has the ambition to continue these investments once it has overcome the COVID-19 crisis. To save jobs and companies, it is important to act decisively to ensure the continuity of economic activity, to stave off bankruptcies and to prevent mass layoffs.

The EU must maintain the ambition to keep the full automotive value chain inside the EU. This would allow the EU to keep a strong European automotive sector and to maintain our global leadership in clean vehicles, to deliver on its climate objectives and to maintain/create high quality jobs. Finally, a recovery of the automotive sector will generate positive knock-on effects for the overall economy.
 


Claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to your employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19)
26 May 2020

How to use the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to claim back employees' coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

Please click this link which will take you to GOV.UK website 


Member's Weekly Update - important updates
22 May 2020

Please find below this week's update for our member's of the latest news relating to fiscal measures and the motor trade in Scotland.  

This week's update includes important issues the Scottish motor industry is facing at this time including a member' message from SMTA Chief Executive.

Important updates on the Business Support Grant non payment for some of our members and the DVSA MOT extension.

Read your weekly update as at 22/5/20 here


Member message from the Chief Executive
20 May 2020

Dear Member

I do hope this statement finds you and yours all safe and well.

The SMTA was formed in 1903 to encourage, promote & protect its members who joined us from across the growing automotive sector in Scotland. In that time the association has experienced numerous crisis situations including World Wars, global pandemics and financial recessions to name a few. There can be no doubt however that this current CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC will be the one that will leave the heaviest stain on many of your business and households.  

The offices of the SMTA have never stood so empty for so long, but as families, friends and businesses, right across the world – continue to adjust so admirably to an unfolding catastrophe there is much to be thankful for and more to be hopeful for.

Looking after our customers

A country without personal and business transport is a country that will eventually grind itself to a halt! The services that you provide on a daily basis throughout the communities of Scotland are critical to the success of our country as we start the long road to recovery from this lockdown.

To date we, as your association have worked hard to answer hundreds of member, non-member and political enquiries as quickly as possible, and we are still receiving more and more each and every day.   It’s essential that we are there for our members, present and future. Not least while we continue to provide vital support such as our Consumer Conciliation Service, Trading Partners, MOT QMS advice and support along with Scotsure and membership guidance as and when the need arises.
 
In what felt like a heartbeat, we have gone from operating our South Queensferry HQ based within traditional buildings with people and processes to a virtual call centre dispersed over multiple living rooms, kitchens and even garden sheds across Scotland, with some staff receiving office equipment to their doorsteps and connecting remotely to our HQ centre systems. Whilst we all may have been less able than normal to reply personally to members calls and emails, we do strive to ensure we are dealing with every enquiry across the business as effectively as possible. Currently we have furloughed approximately 50% of our team across all departments, while it may take slightly longer to get through to us, and we may need two or three days to reply to non-urgent emails, our promise remains. We are here to encourage, promote & protect our members interest as we always have been.

Looking after our staff

I am incredibly proud of the way our staff have adapted to such unusually demanding circumstances. Working from home can be difficult. Working from home during a lockdown poses even greater tests of focus and flexibility. We are doing our best to make sure everyone is supported and remains connected – whether that’s through regular one-to-one catch up calls or our general staff emails and of course our own website daily CORONAVIRUS updates. Personal connection with our staff and our members has always been important to us as a business. Right now it matters more than ever before.

Looking to the future

Living in lockdown has given new meaning to numerous words and statements like isolation, insecurity, loneliness and distance. However we have also experienced the true value of community and social unity in our personal and business lives. This has also produced a new wave of different thinking as the issues we face have become challenges in themselves, and of course the use of technology will have transformed and changed some attitudes and process in our sector forever, and of course created new challenges and opportunities as a result.
 
The efforts that so many have gone to, and the sacrifices people are making, can give inspiration to all of us and help to bring tomorrow closer. A tomorrow where our businesses are once again fully operational and everyone can travel freely to work and visit their families and friends, in the first instance within the UK but ultimately around the world.

From me and the whole team at The Scottish Motor Trade Association please stay safe, stay focused and stay positive.

Sandy Burgess FIMI
Chief Executive SMTA


HMRC: How to claim coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay
19 May 2020

Update from HMRC:

We’re writing to let you know that the coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will launch online on 26 May.

The scheme will enable employers with fewer than 250 employees to claim coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). Tax agents will also be able to make claims on behalf of employers.

You’re eligible to use the scheme if:

  • you’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
  • you had a PAYE payroll scheme in operation before 28 February 2020
  • you had fewer than 250 employees across all PAYE schemes on 28 February 2020
  • you’re eligible to receive State Aid under the EU Commission Temporary Framework.

The repayment will cover up to two weeks of the applicable rate of SSP, and is payable if a current or former employee was unable to work on or after 13 March 2020 and entitled to SSP, because they either:

  • have coronavirus
  • are self-isolating and unable to work from home
  • are shielding because they’ve been advised that they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus.

To prepare to make a claim, you should keep records of all the SSP payments you wish to claim for.

For more information about eligibility and how employers can prepare to use the scheme, please visit GOV.UK and search 'Check if you can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19)'.

Please only call us if you cannot find the support you need on GOV.UK advice pages or through our webchat service – this will leave our lines open for those who need our help most.

You can find out more about this coronavirus support measure, and others such as HMRC’s Job Retention Scheme, by signing up to one of our webinars. For more information please visit GOV.UK and search for 'Help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)'.

A word about scams

We are aware of an increase in scam emails, calls and texts. If someone gets in touch claiming to be from HMRC, saying that financial help can be claimed or that a tax refund is owed, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, please do not respond. You can forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 60599.



HMRC: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – update for employers
18 May 2020

Update from HMRC:

It’s nearly a month since the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) opened and many businesses will be preparing to make another claim in order to receive money by the end of May.

To ensure you receive a payment by the end of May, you need to apply by Wednesday 20‌‌ May.

When you make a claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, you’ll receive the money within six working days.

After making a claim, please keep all records and calculations, in case we need to contact you to discuss these.

Update on the scheme

On 12 May, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the CJRS scheme will be extended until the end of October. The scheme will continue in its current form until the end of July.

From 1‌‌ August to the end of October, we will introduce more flexibility so employers will be able to bring their furloughed employees back to work part-time and contribute to paying employees' wages while still receiving support from the scheme.

These measures will apply across all regions and sectors in the UK economy, and we expect to publish more details of how this will work by the end of May.

Guidance and support

In the meantime, more information is available online to help you apply – go to GOV‌.UK and search 'Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme'.

Online guidance has recently been updated with:

  • more information for furloughed employees
  • the work furloughed company directors can undertake
  • what time periods you can claim for
  • more detail on non-discretionary payments, holiday pay and record keeping.

Our webinars are also available to help you, and there are two about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on our YouTube channel 'HMRCgovuk' – an overview of the scheme and a detailed session about how to make a claim. You can book a place on a live webinar by going to GOV‌.UK and searching 'help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus'.

Please remember that grants are only intended for the payment of employees' salaries and related National Insurance, and pension contributions.

Payments may be withheld or need to be repaid in full if based on dishonest or inaccurate information or found to be fraudulent, and we may call you to check the details of your claim.

Protect yourself from scams

Stay vigilant about scams, which may mimic government messages as a way of appearing authentic and unthreatening. Don't give out private information or reply to text messages, and don't download attachments in emails you weren't expecting. Search 'scams' on GOV‌.UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact. You can also forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 60599.

 



Member Weekly Update - please read
14 May 2020

Please find below this week's update for our member's of the latest news relating to fiscal measures and the motor trade in Scotland. 

This week's update includes important issues the Scottish motor industry is facing at this time including an update from SMTA Chief Executive regarding DVSA and the 6 month holiday on MOTs and Covid-19 grant funding issues our members are having.


Weekly Update as at 14/5/20

BREAKING NEWS: Automotive aftermarket sector ready to keep millions of British vehicles roadworthy as SMMT launches COVID-19 guidance
14 May 2020

COVID-19 : INDUSTRY GUIDANCE AND BEST PRACTICE FOR AUTOMOTIVE AFTERMARKET

  • New automotive sector-specific guidance for aftermarket providers published by GEA, IAAF, IMI, SMTA and SMMT today.
  • MOT testers and service and repair sector ready to welcome back more customers with comprehensive COVID-19 safety measures across all points of interaction.
  • Sector can cope with significant ramp-up in demand but calls for end of six-month MOT extension as soon as possible.


The UK automotive aftermarket sector has signalled its readiness to cope with increased demand for MOT tests, service, maintenance and repair with the publication of new sector-specific guidance1 by the Garage Equipment Association (GEA), Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF), Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA) and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Although workshops have been allowed to stay open throughout the lockdown, helping to keep vehicles roadworthy for essential journeys, the new guidance will help companies of all types and sizes in the aftermarket operate safely while minimising the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

The best-practice guidance covers the entire aftermarket sector, including workshops, warehouses, mobile operations and parts distributors. It covers every aspect of their operations, from clear communications with customers and colleagues to social distancing, sanitisation and hygiene, and collection/delivery of vehicles from vulnerable owners. It is designed to complement government advice and help the aftermarket sector demonstrate safe practices for employees and customers across all points of interaction. It comes as vehicle mileages start to climb and the sector calls for an end to the six-month MOT extension.

Courtesy SMMT.



SMTA contact council chiefs regarding non payment of Covid-19 business support grants
12 May 2020

SMTA's Chief Executive, Sandy Burgess has contacted every chief executive at every council in Scotland regarding the major issue with the non payment of business support grants to the automotive sector.  A copy of this letter can be viewed here.

In addition, we would encourage all our members who have been rejected for one of the business support grants to contact their local MSP or MP to bring this issue to their attention.  

Sandy Burgess, SMTA Chief Executive can be contacted at sandy.burgess@smta.co.uk





Northburn Oils resumes collections
11 May 2020

Member Update:

Northburn Oils have confirmed this morning that they have re-started waste oil collections.
As their office remains closed, collections can be booked by filling in the form on their website.
https://northburn.co.uk/

Member weekly update - please read
08 May 2020

We will be producing an update for our member's of the week's news relating to fiscal measures and the motor trade in Scotland.  This week's update includes important issues the Scottish motor industry is facing at this time including grant relief not being issued to some of our members, please click the link below to read.

Weekly Update as at 08/05/20

Breaking News - SMTA labels Covid-19 grant relief in Scotland a postcode lottery
07 May 2020

News published today on www.cardealermagazine.co.uk

The Scottish Motor Trade Association has hit out over a communication breakdown that is seeing some garages missing out on thousands in grant relief during the coronavirus crisis.

It all boils down to the interpretation by individual councils as to who is eligible for the money from the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund and a gap in guidance issued by the Scottish government.

A one-off £25,000 grant is available to ratepayers of properties in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors whose rateable values are between £18,000 and £51,000.

However, because of an inconsistency in guidelines issued by the Scottish government to local authorities, with garages not being specifically listed in one particular table although they are in another, claims for the £25,000 are being rejected by some councils, meaning a ‘double whammy’ for businesses having to pay rates and not getting any support, even though they’re shut other than for essential repairs and MOTs.


Read the full article here at Car Dealer Magazine

Business rates revaluation postponed
07 May 2020

A revaluation of business rates will no longer take place in 2021 to help reduce uncertainty for firms affected by the impacts of coronavirus.
 
Legislation had been introduced to bring the next revaluation forward by one year from 2022 to 2021, but following the recent economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic ministers want to ensure businesses have more certainty during this difficult time.

COVID-19: Out of furlough and back to work - FREE TEMPLATES
05 May 2020

From Lawgistics - www.lawgistics.co.uk

On the bright and green side, some garages are now re-opening to meet the demand. Some dealers have aptly adjusted to selling cars in the lockdown, taking on board the imposed restriction on trade and doing business distantly. Essential workers and all those who cannot work from home still need transport to commute, goods need to be delivered.

There is, reassuringly, a demand to meet and there are jobs to be done. Dealers and garages may have to start to recalling their staff from furlough.

If you are in this fortunate position and need your staff to come out of furlough to do work, this certainly can be done.

Just remember, the minimum furlough duration is 3 weeks. It is the employer’s decision which employees remained furloughed and who is coming back to work. This decision must not be in any manner discriminatory. It is worth reminding your staff that on furlough ending, the normal terms of employment resume.

Click here for a template created by Lawgistics

Europe’s four auto sector associations publish 25-point action plan for successful restart
05 May 2020

Joint Press Release from: CECRA, ACEA, CLEPA and ETRMA

Europe’s four auto sector associations publish 25-point action plan for successful restart

Brussels, 5 May 2020 – COVID-19 is having a major impact on the economy, with retail and manufacturing activity crippled without precedence and concerns mounting on consumer sentiment. The European automotive sector, which has been hit particularly badly, proposes a plan comprised of 25 key actions to ensure a strong restart of the sector and the economy at large.

Targeting decision makers at EU and national level, the action plan lists tangible recommendations to successfully exit from the corona crisis. It is issued by the four associations representing the full automotive supply chain: from equipment and tyre suppliers, to vehicle manufacturers, to dealers and workshops (ACEA, CECRA, CLEPA and ETRMA). Together, they want to contribute to a policy response to C-19 that ensures public health, minimises the impact on the economy and maintains focus on the overarching objectives of our time: the digital and carbon-neutral society.

As part of the action plan, the sector calls for coordinated vehicle renewal schemes for all vehicle types and categories across the EU. This will boost private and business demand, support economic recovery across the board as well as accelerate the rejuvenation of the vehicle fleet on Europe’s roads. Purchase and investment incentives should be based on similar criteria across Europe, drawing on both national and EU funding. Such schemes should be enhanced by scrapping premiums, and should take into account society’s climate ambitions and resource-efficiency objectives in concert with the economic impact.

Eric-Mark Huitema, Director General of ACEA, the automobile manufacturers’ association stated: “It is now crucial to bring the entire automotive value chain back into motion. We need a coordinated relaunch of industrial and retail activity, with maintained liquidity for businesses. Targeted measures will need to be taken to trigger demand and investment. Demand stimulus will boost the utilisation of our manufacturing capacity, safeguarding jobs and investments.”
 
Bernard Lycke, Director General of CECRA, the association of automotive dealers and workshops says: “To relaunch mobility and economic activity, it will be essential that vehicle dealerships and motor vehicle workshops reopen as soon as possible in the countries where they are still closed. Targeted purchase incentives and scrappage schemes for all categories of vehicles will, in addition to spurring the recovery, make a positive contribution towards carbon neutrality and road safety.”
 
Sigrid de Vries, Secretary General of CLEPA, the association of the automotive suppliers’ industry in Europe says: “Restarting the automotive sector will act as an engine of overall economic recovery because of the significant employment impact and immediate knock-on effect on other sectors. Investment in people and R&D remains key as well. Europe needs a strong automotive ecosystem to stay competitive and push ahead with ambitious environmental, digital and road safety targets.”
 
Fazilet Cinaralp, Secretary General of ETRMA, the European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers Association: “The automotive sector is committed to emerging from this crisis stronger than before. A successful restart requires a supportive regulatory framework that protects public health, minimises the impact on the economy and ensures a transition to a circular, carbon-neutral economy. In close collaboration with the European Commission, we want to contribute to a policy response that brings about a successful COVID-19 recovery.”

Key updates for employers in respect of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
04 May 2020

Update from Just Employment Law:

Since the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the CJRS) was announced on 26 March 2020 there have been many versions of the Government’s guidance on the CJRS.

This week, further key changes have been made to the Government’s guidance on the CJRS, in the wake of the CJRS portal’s first week in operation. These can be summarised as follows:
Collective agreement reached between an employer and a trade union to furlough workers will be an acceptable form of consent for the purpose of a CJRS claim.

An employee who was on a fixed term contract can be re-employed, furloughed and claimed for if either: (a) their contract expired after 28 February 2020 and an RTI payment submission was notified to HMRC on/before 28 February 2020; or (b) it expired after 19 March 2020 and an RTI payment submission was notified to HMRC on/before 19 March 2020. If the fixed term contract has not yet expired, it can be extended or renewed, and they can be furloughed and claimed for under the CJRS.

If a group of companies had multiple PAYE schemes and transferred all employees into a new consolidated PAYE scheme after 28 February 2020, they will be eligible to furlough those employees and claim for them under the CJRS.

Union or non-union representatives (including elected workforce representatives) may undertake duties/activities for the individual or collective representation of other workers whilst furloughed (such as during TUPE or redundancy consultation), provided they do not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of, the organisation which has furloughed them or any linked or associated organisation.

Company directors paid annually can be furloughed and claimed for via the CJRS provided they meet certain conditions, including being notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on/or before 19 March 2020 in relation to a payment of earnings in the 2019/20 tax year.

Where employees transferred to a new employer via TUPE on/after 28 February 2020, the new employer can claim for those employees under the CJRS if the TUPE or PAYE business succession rules apply to the change in ownership.

The normal rules for all forms of family-related leave and pay apply irrespective of whether an employee has been furloughed (and furlough must end before the start of the leave). However, new regulations have been introduced which provide that where an employee was furloughed and then started a form of family-related leave on or after 25 April 2020, their statutory pay for that leave should be calculated based on the pay they would have received if not furloughed.

The Government launched a coronavirus business support finder tool on 20 April 2020 which uses an online questionnaire to identify whether a business or self-employed person could be entitled for support from various government schemes, including the CJRS. This can be accessed here.

New Bounce Back Loans to launch today
04 May 2020

Britain’s small businesses will be able to apply for quick and easy-to access loans of up to £50,000 from today – with the cash expected to land within days.

  • small businesses will be able to apply for quick and easy-to-access loans from today
  • businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 with the cash arriving within days
  • loans will be 100% government backed for lenders, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form

Thousands of small firms and sole traders – including high street staples like hairdressers, coffee shops and florists – will be eligible for 100% government-backed Bounce Back Loans to help them make it through the coronavirus outbreak.

From 9am this morning, small business owners can apply to accredited lenders by filling out a simple online form, with only seven questions.

The government has also agreed with lenders that an affordable flat rate of 2.5% interest will be charged on these loans. And any business that has already taken out a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan of £50,000 or less can apply to have these switched over to this generous new scheme.

The Bounce Back Loan scheme is the latest step in a package of world-leading support measures launched by Chancellor Rishi Sunak – with £7.5 billion already awarded in business grants, 4 million jobs supported through the job retention scheme and generous tax deferrals supporting hundreds of thousands of firms. To apply, see further information about the Bounce Back Loan scheme.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said:

Small businesses will play a key role creating jobs and securing economic growth as we recover from the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Bounce Back loan scheme will make sure they get the finance they need - helping them bounce back and protect jobs.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:

We are backing small businesses, which are the backbone of our communities, with the support they need to stay afloat.

This new scheme of 100% government-guaranteed loans gives owners of even the smallest businesses the confidence and flexibility to borrow a sum which works for them. This will help ensure they can continue to trade, and be a key part of our efforts to reboot the British economy.

As part of the scheme, small businesses can borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee and cover the cost of any fees and interest for the borrower for the first 12 months. No repayments will be due during this period to enable firms to get back on their feet.

The loans are available through a network of lenders, including the five largest banks.

Further Information

  • Eligible companies will be subject to standard customer fraud, anti-money laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) checks prior to any loan being made. Some State Aid restrictions may apply to applications.
  • The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt.


SMTA Coronavirus Weekly Update for Members
30 Apr 2020

We will be producing an update for our member's of the week's news relating to fiscal measures and the motor trade in Scotland.

Weekly Update as at 30/04/20

Use of Trade Plates for unaccompanied test drives
30 Apr 2020

Update from DVLA:

The DVLA have had a number of queries about the use of trade plates during the COVID-19 Pandemic and their use during a test drive while adhering to the social distancing rules.

DVLA has reviewed the relevant legislation on trade licensing and ascertained that a prospective purchaser may test drive a vehicle on trade plates, without the trade licence holder being present.

However, trade plates are the property of the Secretary of State and motor traders should take all precautions to ensure that trade plates are not stolen from the vehicle.

Applications open for lifeline support scheme
30 Apr 2020

A £100 million package of additional grant support for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and newly self-employed people opens at 2pm today. There are funds available:

Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund
Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund

SMTA Member Offer - Sneeze Screens
28 Apr 2020

Bestplate has a special offer for SMTA members  - “Sneeze Screens”, for hygiene and protection, manufactured in 3mm material with cut out.  



A 6 pack of the screens is £270 plus vat and carriage (700 (w) x 650 ( h) x 3mm with fixings)
Carriage cost is £10 per 25kg parcel, each single parcel holds 6 screens.

If you are interested and would like to find out more please contact Norman Stirling, SMTA Membership Development Manager on 07917 095014, or you can order direct by contacting Bestplate - see below. 


To order contact:
patrick.allport@bestplate.com  
m: +44(0)7967 716388  
t. 01253 345 287

bestplate.com



New 100% government backed loan scheme for small businesses
28 Apr 2020

Small businesses will benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans of between £2,000 and £50,000 with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders, the Chancellor announced on Monday 27 April.

You can find more information here: Small businesses boosted by bounce back loans

SMTA Secure OFFICIAL clearance for dealers to sell and deliver vehicles during lockdown
27 Apr 2020

We attach a copy of a letter received from the Cabinet Secretary of the Scottish Government responding to our challenge for clearer guidelines about the task of selling and more importantly delivering vehicles with on-line transactions. The letter confirms official clearance for our members who are car dealers to be able to sell and deliver vehicles during lockdown.

SMTA members who are distance selling can print a copy of the letter here.

HMRC Employer Bulletin
27 Apr 2020

Update from HMRC:

The Employer Bulletin (April 2020, Issue 83) includes the latest update on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, along with updates on the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme and the deferral of VAT payments.

Please go online at GOV.UK if you need further support.

Scottish Government publish Covid-19 A Framework for Decision Making
23 Apr 2020

Update from The Scottish Government

The Scottish Government has today (23 April) published COVID-19: A Framework for Decision Making. It sets out some of the challenges Scotland faces and outlines the approach and principles that will guide us as we make decisions about transitioning out of the current lockdown arrangements. As a government we will listen to the best scientific advice and to the people of Scotland as we make our judgements. This is a living document and will be updated as evidence, modelling, and our assessment of the different options open to us develops. We will seek to engage at every opportunity and be open and transparent as our thinking evolves.

Click here to read the document.

Employment Law Update including furlough information
22 Apr 2020

Please find a Q&A document for employers from Just Employment Law that you may find useful.

Coronavirus update for Employers

DVLA Digital Services
21 Apr 2020

DVLA Update for members: 

The Coronavirus Pandemic has had a significant impact on DVLA’s services. In line with advice from Public Health Wales they have a very limited number of staff on-site who are focusing on applications from those who are directly involved in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In particular, they are prioritising applications relating to HGV drivers and key workers to make sure they get any documentation they need as quickly as possible. They are only processing key worker applications, others being significantly delayed or unable to be processed until further notice.

Their Contact Centre is also focusing its services on those in most need and are telling customers not to call unless they are directly involved in the nation’s response to COVID-19. Unfortunately, the Contact Centre will not be able to respond to any other calls or general queries until further notice.

Whilst DVLA’s paper application processes have been severely impacted by the pandemic, DVLA’s digital services continue to operate as normal. We are therefore encouraging all applicants to utilise these digital services whenever possible.   Please find a list of their digital services and the link to their website here

UK government extends furlough scheme until end of June
20 Apr 2020

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extended by one month to reflect continuing social distancing measures.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said:

We’ve taken unprecedented action to support jobs and businesses through this period of uncertainty, including the UK-wide Job Retention Scheme. With the extension of the coronavirus lockdown measures yesterday, it is the right decision to extend the furlough scheme for a month to the end of June to provide clarity.

It is vital for people’s livelihoods that the UK economy gets up and running again when it is safe to do so, and I will continue to review the scheme so it is supporting our recovery.

HMRC Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme claims go LIVE today
20 Apr 2020

Update from HMRC:

We want to help you get ready to make your claim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme when it goes live today. 

There’s now updated guidance on how to calculate your claim and a simple step-by-step guide.

There will also be a calculator available when the system goes live on Monday for you to check your calculations online before you make your claim.

Please have all your information and calculations ready before you begin your application. If you have a payroll provider, they will be able to help you with this. You should retain all records and calculations in case we need to contact you about them.

You can now claim online for a grant for 80% of your furloughed employees’ salaries, up to a maximum of £2,500 per employee, per month, through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

This scheme will be open until the end of June 2020.

Before you make a claim:

  • please read all the available guidance on GOV.UK before you apply
  • gather all the information and the precise calculations you need before you start your application – if you have a payroll provider, they will be able to help you with this
  • you can find out more in the calculation guidance where you can access a claim calculator – this will allow you to check your claim for most employees who are paid the same amount each pay period
  • access our simple step-by-step guide for additional help.

After you’ve made a claim:

  • keep a note or a print-out of your claim reference number – you won’t receive a confirmation SMS or email
  • retain all records and calculations for your claims, in case we need to contact you about them
  • expect to receive the funds six working days after you apply, provided your claim matches records that we hold for your PAYE scheme – please do not contact us before this time
  • to receive payment by 30‌‌ April, you will need to complete an application by 22‌‌ April
  • please ask your furloughed employees not to contact us directly – we will not be able to provide them with any information on individual claims.

We expect to be very busy so we would ask that you only call us if you can’t find what you need on GOV‌.UK or through our webchat service – this will leave our lines open for those who need our help most.

HMRC will check claims made through the scheme and will act to protect public money against anyone who makes a claim using dishonest or fraudulent information.

We’d encourage you to also protect your own credentials from potential scammers and opportunist criminal activity.


Please only call us if you can’t find what you need on GOV‌.UK – this will leave our lines open for those who need our help most.

FCA publishes draft coronavirus guidance on motor finance repayments
20 Apr 2020

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said that it expects motor finance providers to offer “exceptional and immediate support to customers facing payment difficulties” due to COVID-19 coronavirus.

In draft guidance to the sector published this morning the regulator outlined temporary measures in a bid to help motorists which it said might be having temporary difficulty in making their finance or leasing payments due to a loss of or reduction in their income, or those who expect to experience such difficulties.

The guidance states that finance firms should agree to three-month payment deferrals, reduced payments or a rescheduled term to help customers “without delay”.

Read full article at AM Online

SMTA Coronavirus Weekly Update for Members
16 Apr 2020

Each week we will be producing an update for our member's of the week's news relating to fiscal measures relating to the motor trade in Scotland.

Update at 16.4.20

HMRC - Help to claim – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
16 Apr 2020

Update from HMRC:

We are now writing to tell you how and when to access the system with some more information about what you will need to have ready before the system goes live.

We are also updating you on an important change to the scheme relating to employee eligibility:

you can claim for employees that were employed as of 19 March 2020 and were on your PAYE payroll on or before that date; this means that you will have made an RTI submission notifying us of payment of that employee on or before 19 March 2020

employees that were employed as of 28 February 2020 and on payroll (i.e. notified to us on an RTI submission on or before 28 February) and were made redundant or stopped working for you after that, and prior to 19 March 2020, can also qualify for the scheme if you re-employ them and put them on furlough.

More information on this can be found on GOV.UK.

How to claim

As you prepare to make a claim, please note:

the online claim service will be launched on GOV.UK on 20‌‌ April 2020 – please do not try to access it before this date as it won’t be available

the only way to make a claim is online – the service should be simple to use and any support you need available on GOV.UK; this will include help with calculating the amount you can claim

you can make the claim yourself even if you usually use an agent

claims will be paid within 6 working days; you should not contact us unless it is absolutely necessary – any queries should be directed to your agent, representative or our webchat service

we cannot answer any queries from employees – they will need to raise these with you, as their employer, directly.

Information you will need before you make a claim

In addition to the information in our previous email, you will need to have the following before 20‌‌ April 2020:

a Government Gateway (GG) ID and password – if you don’t already have a GG account, you can apply for one online, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for 'HMRC services: sign in or register'

be enrolled for PAYE online – if you aren’t registered yet, you can do so now, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for 'PAYE Online for employers'

the following information for each furloughed employee you will be claiming for:

  • Name.
  • National Insurance number.
  • Claim period and claim amount.
  • PAYE/employee number (optional).
  • if you have fewer than 100 furloughed staff – you will need to input information directly into the system for each employee
  • if you have 100 or more furloughed staff – you will need to upload a file with information for each employee; we will accept the following file types: .xls .xlsx .csv .ods.

If you want an agent to act for you

Please note:
agents authorised to act for you on PAYE matters can make the claim on your behalf using their ID and password
you will need to tell your agent which UK bank account you want the grant to be paid into, in order to ensure funds are paid as quickly as possible to you.

You should retain all records and calculations in respect of your claims.
Guidance on GOV.UK is being regularly updated so please review it frequently.

A fifth of consumers to buy cars 'immediately after' coronavirus lockdown
15 Apr 2020

Almost a fifth of car buyers are poised to make a purchase as soon as the current COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown is lifted, according to survey data published by What Car?.

The automotive consumer publication surveyed nearly 3,000 active online car researchers and found that 18.2% said that they intend to buy their next car immediately after the lockdown restrictions are lifted.

It also found that 36% of in-market buyers feel that retailers should respond to their online enquiries within 24 hours, despite the ongoing crisis, with a further 13% expecting contact within half that time and 6% want it within an hour.

Read the full AM Online article here



Getting ready for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
10 Apr 2020

Update from HMRC:

We want to help you get ready to make a claim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

If you’re eligible for the scheme, there are things that you can do now to be ready when the system is up and running later this month.

You’ll need to provide the following to make a claim:

  1. The bank account number and sort code you’d like us to use when we pay your claim.
  2. The name and phone number of the person in your business for us to call with any questions.
  3. Your Self-Assessment UTR (Unique Tax Reference), Company UTR or CRN (Company Registration Number).
  4. The name, employee number and National Insurance number for each of your furloughed employees.
  5. The total amount being claimed for all employees and the total furlough period.

If you use an agent who is authorised to act for you for PAYE purposes, they will be able to make a claim on your behalf, so please speak to them now.

However, if you use a file-only agent (files your RTI return but doesn’t act for you in other matters), they won’t be able to make a claim for you and you’ll need the information listed above from them to make the claim yourself.

For more detailed advice, please visit GOV.UK. This guidance is being regularly updated, so please review it frequently.

You may also find this recorded webinar helpful, 'Coronavirus (COVID-19) Job Retention Scheme', available on HMRC’s YouTube channel.

An email from HMRC will be sent in the next few days with more details on how and when to access the online system – please do not try to do this until we let you know it is available.

 



DVLA Contact Centre Opening Times over Easter
10 Apr 2020

The DVLA contact center is now only taking calls from key workers.

 

Please do not to call the contact centre unless you are a key worker directly involved in the response to the COVID-19.   Key workers only can contact DVLA  here

The contact centre Easter opening times :

 

Date

Opening hours

Thursday 9 April

10am to 4pm

Good Friday 10 April

Closed

Saturday 11 April

Closed

Easter Sunday 12 April

Closed

Easter Monday 13 April

Closed

Tuesday 14 April

10am to 4pm


All other customers should please use their online services, which are all currently available.



Government furlough portal set to open amid car retail fraud allegations
09 Apr 2020

Some franchised car dealers have been accused of abusing Government’s Job Retention Scheme (JRS) as businesses across the UK prepare for the opening of the HMRC's portal to register for the salary support.

HMRC chief executive Jim Harra outlined details of the application process and revealed that the opening date for applications would be April 20 in a letter distributed yesterday (April 8).

But as many car retail businesses were poised to take advantage of the scheme in a bid to safeguard their business during the current COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown, it was alleged that others with furloughed staff were attempting to exploit the scheme.

Ian Ferguson, the founder of car retail dispute resolution business RejectMyCar.com, said that he had uncovered evidence that the JRS scheme was being abused by some car retail groups whose furloughed staff have continued to work in direct contravention of the scheme’s rules.

Read full article at AM Online here

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is now available through participating lenders
08 Apr 2020

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is available for SMEs through more than 40 accredited lenders across the UK.

Visit www.british-busness-bank.co.uk here for more info

Employment Law Update including furlough information
08 Apr 2020

Please find a Q&A document for employers from Just Employment Law that you may find useful.

Coronavirus update for Employers

DVLA Update - contact centre open for urgent key worker assistance
07 Apr 2020

Update from DVLA to all SMTA members:


Due to the reduced number of staff that DVLA have available to work on site in the DVLA they are having to prioritise their work and services to focus on critical workers and the services that they are providing to deal with the pandemic and to keep the country going.

The DVLA Contact Centre is now available from Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm. In order that we can focus their available resources on those in most need they are now prioritising their resources to handle urgent calls from those who are directly involved in the nation’s response to COVID-19 as a key worker. Their staff will not be able to respond to other queries at this time.

Please can we ask that any members, who meet the above criteria, to use one of the following links which will provide them with up to date contact details for drivers and vehicles related issues. These links will be kept up to date with the latest information.

 

Vehicles Information: Click here

Drivers & Medical Information: Click here
For updates and advice please go to https://www.gov.uk/dvla 



Ben - here to help
07 Apr 2020

Coronavirus help | Ben Support for Life

There’s no doubt that we’re in unusual and difficult times. The Coronavirus is affecting everyone’s lives – both home and work. In this section you can find information on how we can help and tips and advice for specific areas of your health and wellbeing that may be affected as a result of the current situation.  


Ben are sharing some important information to help people understandhow they can help in these extraordinary times.


To help Ben manage and prioritise urgent cases, we ask that you check Ben's website first for information, tips and advice and then, if you need additional help, to contact their helpline.



Coronavirus: apprenticeship programme response
07 Apr 2020

Update from UK Government:

This is a difficult time for apprentices, employers and providers of apprenticeship training, assessment and external assurance. The government is committed to supporting apprentices, and employers continue to build the skills capabilities the country needs now and in the future.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is responding by taking steps to ensure that, wherever possible, apprentices can continue and complete their apprenticeship, despite any break they need to take as a result of COVID-19, and to support providers during this challenging time.

The support we are providing includes:

  • introducing flexibilities to allow furloughed apprentices to continue their training as long as it does not provide services to or generate revenue for their employer

  • encouraging training providers to deliver training to apprentices remotely, and via e-learning, as far as is practicable

  • allowing the modification of end-point assessment arrangements, including remote assessments wherever practicable and possible in order to maintain progress and achievement for apprentices

  • clarifying that apprentices ready for assessment, but who cannot be assessed due to COVID-19 issues, can have their end-point assessment rescheduled

  • apprentices whose gateway is delayed can have an extension to the assessment time frame

  • enabling employers and training providers to report and initiate a break in learning, where the interruption to learning due to COVID-19 is greater than 4 weeks

  • clarification on how to record breaks in learning so that funding is not unnecessarily disrupted

  • confirming that, where apprentices are made redundant, it is our ambition to find them alternative employment and continue their apprenticeship as quickly as possible and within 12 weeks

Visit Gov.UK for more information here

Drop of 48.65% in car registrations as Coronavirus crisis hits the Scottish car market
06 Apr 2020

Rough passage ahead! The new car registration activity in Scotland for March mirrored that of the rest of the UK in returning a huge drop of 48.65% against 44.04% for the other nations combined, this meant that as a whole the UK experienced a 44.00% decline in registrations against 2019 and has very significant impacts for the remainder of 2020.

The reason for the drop off does not need confirming, we as an industry, consumer groups and media are all very well aware of what the problem has been in this instance and that it will continue to blight every sector of our economy for some time to come. That said there are fantastic efforts being made by many to find a cure and a vaccine for the virus so we can fight off this current crisis and return to doing what we all can to ensure a speedy recovery for everyone.

Our sector is doing their bit in often very challenging situations to ensure essential workers can continue to travel to and from their place of work, supplying labour, parts and often supplying vehicles to help with the common fight, The SMTA is very proud of its membership playing their part for their communities across the nation.

Sandy Burgess SMTA Chief Executive commented “There is no real point in trying to analyze the figures for March beyond what they are, the key critical consideration we all have is for the safety of our staff, our business partners and our customer base be that rural or metropolitan it’s the space we are all in right now.”

 

For further information, please contact:
Sandy Burgess or Karen Thompson

SMTA Ltd, Palmerston House, 10 The Loan, South Queensferry, EH30 9NS

info@smta.co.uk



Claim for your employees' wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
06 Apr 2020

Update from UK Government on commission payments included in the 80% of wages (up to a £2,500 limit) employers can claim for their employees: 
 
You can claim for any regular payments you are obliged to pay your employees. This includes wages, past overtime, fees and compulsory commission payments. However, discretionary bonus (including tips) and commission payments and non-cash payments should be excluded. 





Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme update
06 Apr 2020


Update from HMRC:

The employer guidance and guidance for employees have been further updated in line with some of the main queries we have received from stakeholders. Whilst all the guidance has been refreshed, the main areas I would draw your attention to are:

  • the more detailed information on scheme eligibility
  • further information on how to calculate a claim
  • clarification of what constitutes wages.


HMRC Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
03 Apr 2020

Update from HM Revenue and Customs

At Budget 2020 the Chancellor announced details about a new coronavirus (COVID-19) Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme.

This scheme will allow small and medium sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying Statutory Sick Pay to their employees.

Today HMRC has published new online guidance which includes information about who can use the scheme and the records employers must keep.

HMRC is working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

Details about when the new Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme can be accessed and when employers can make a claim will be announced as soon as possible.

We will continue to update you and the new GOV‌.UK guidance when these details are available.

 



SMTA Coronavirus Weekly Update for Members
03 Apr 2020

Each week we will be producing an update for our member's of the week's news relating to fiscal measures relating to the motor trade in Scotland.

Weekly Update as at 03/04/20

Furlough - common questions we are being asked you may find helpful
02 Apr 2020

We note below a few common questions and answers that may help you with regard to furloughing your employees. Please be sure you are aware of the rules of furlough and that your employee is aware also.

Can a furloughed employee work elsewhere?

Yes, providing they had that job prior to 1 March 2020. It remains to be clarified if a furloughed employee can take up new employment elsewhere whilst on furlough.

Can a furloughed employee take annual leave when on furlough?

This may be possible but again awaiting clarity on this point. In the meantime, in case HMRC does not permit furlough and annual leave to be taken at the same time it is recommend that an employee does not take annual leave (including any public holidays) during the first three weeks of furlough leave.

If an employee takes a holiday after having at least three consecutive weeks of furlough leave, no further holiday should be agreed until they have been back on furlough leave for a further three weeks, if applicable.

Whether you are topping up the furlough payments to the employee or not, they should receive full pay (as they normally would) for any period of annual leave. It is not yet clear if HMRC will reimburse you at all for periods of annual leave taken during furlough leave. Nor do we know if taking annual leave will be treated as breaking a continuous period of furlough leave, hence the advice in the first and second paragraphs of this question.

Can I bring a furloughed employee back to work and then ‘re-furlough’ them?

The scheme does not appear to preclude this, provided that each period of furlough is a minimum of three weeks. However, the government guidance does not include an express confirmation that the same person can be furloughed more than once

Avoid stock liquidation, ASE warns dealers, as cashflow remains key
02 Apr 2020

Dealers will need cashflow to bridge the gap until the Government’s business and employee support funds drop in, however they must resist a fire sale of stock, ASE Global’s chairman Mike Jones has warned.  His advice came as global analysts IHS Markit predicted a year-on-year 10 million light vehicle sales decline (12.2%) worldwide to 78.8m units in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic and national counter-measures.

IHS automotive economist Peter Nagle said "If quarantine measures get extended and economic stimulus activities are not sufficient, the decline could be 18% to 20% globally to around 71m units.  Most of the world’s mature economies are suffering “historic declines” causing recession, Nagle said, however IHS forecasts “bounce backs” in 2021.

He pointed out that in China, after eight weeks of factory closures, nine cities are now introducing incentives for people to buy cars, particularly electric vehicles.

“It may take a long time for people to feel comfortable in crowds. It could take two to three years for most economies to return to where they were before,” Nagle said.  “Aversion to public transport after the crisis could help vehicle sales, but there’s limited upsides. That happened after the SARS outbreak.”

Dealers’ problems are more immediate, and Jones said during a webinar with Auto Trader that many of the UK banks and finance houses he’s spoken with are looking to provide extra support for dealers, such as sustaining their stocking loans as normal. Dealers should not be buying more stock at the moment, he said.

His advice was for dealers to maintain or increase dialogue with their banks and funders. “We should be planning for the future, looking at what the cash position will be, to tell them about potential problems and have plans A, B and C ready.”  He said dealers can be building a pipeline, to get arranged for a fast start when showrooms open again. Historically, after other crises, new car sales and service bookings once recovery begins can lag slightly but used car sales build quickly, he said.

His advice to all dealers was to “steer clear” from cashing out of stock if possible.  “The one thing people shouldn’t be doing is panic selling. It’s very difficult from a cashflow point of view, but there is no market out there from a demand point of view, so if people are looking to liquidate stock it’s a phenomenally difficult time to do that.”
Jones predicted a 40% fall in March new car registrations. He urged dealers to be cautious about their approaches in the weeks ahead, and not be over-eager to begin handovers.

Article: AM Online

Emergency volunteering leave
02 Apr 2020

Emergency volunteering leave

Emergency volunteering leave is a new concept allowing workers to leave their primary job and temporarily volunteer in the health or care sector. The following is of note for employers:

Workers are entitled to be absent from work on leave for the period specified in an emergency volunteering certificate (EVC), issued by an appropriate authority.

To qualify for this leave, no later than three working days before the first day of the leave period, the worker must notify their employer in writing of their intention to be absent from work and provide their employer with a copy of the EVC.

Workers can take only one period of leave in each volunteering period. The period of leave set out in the EVC must be either two, three or four consecutive weeks and must begin and end in the same “volunteering period” (i.e. an initial 16 week period, beginning on the date that the relevant section and schedule of the 2020 Act come into force, but further periods can be set thereafter).

Employers are not entitled to refuse a request for this leave, unless they have less than ten employees.

Employers are not required to pay workers their normal wages or salary during this period of leave.
That said, workers absent on this leave have the following rights: to benefit from their terms and conditions that would have applied had they not been absent (except in relation to pay), to return to the job that they did before the leave on no less favourable terms and conditions and to protection from detriment and dismissal for having taken the leave.

Source: Just Employment Law

SMTA members - letter confirming your need to travel to and from your garage
31 Mar 2020

For SMTA members, with the ever developing Covid-19 situation, there may be a possibility that you or your staff may be stopped and asked why you are travelling.  We would like you to refer to an email we have sent today which has a copy of a letter confirming you are exempt from closure and must be able to travel back and forward to your garage.  

If you do not have the email (please check your junk folder and add us to your safe senders list), please contact us at info@smta.co.uk and we will send you another copy.

Stay safe.

SMTA Trading Partners Suppliers Update - still open for business
31 Mar 2020

Please see below an update on which of our SMTA Trading Partner suppliers are still open for business, please note that this is an ever changing situation we all find ourselves in and this list may change at any time.

Bestplate Open for business
Easityre Reduced opening hours, 9am-3pm and service vans leaving once per day at 10am.
GES Still fulfilling most orders.
Johnsons Workwear Open for business, max delay on orders would be one day
Northburn Oils Closed
Scottish Fuels Open for business, member offer now available for SMTA motor oil
Stapleton Tyres Open for business, no cash payments.
Tracker Open for business
Tyrebin Closed
Yokohama Tyres Open for business, orders via www.yokohamab2b.com 


Advice for employers and employees - using holidays
31 Mar 2020

The government has introduced a temporary new law to deal with Coronavirus disruption.

Employees and workers can carry over up to 4 weeks’ paid holiday over a 2-year period, if they cannot take holiday due to Coronavirus.

Information on this can be found on ACAS website here

DVSA Extension of MOT tester assessments
30 Mar 2020

The DVSA has today announced an extension to the deadline for MOT Training & Assessment to the end of April 2020.

If you have not yet completed your Training and Assessment you can do this with SMTA in conjunction with the IMI.   Please email: pauline.galloway@smta.co.uk

Furlough agreement legal update
30 Mar 2020

Please find a Q&A document on furlough for employers from Just Employment Law that you may find useful.

Coronavirus Update for Employers


Deferral of VAT payments as a result of COVID-19
30 Mar 2020

Update from HMRC, see below:

The Chancellor announced a VAT payments deferral on 20 March to support businesses with cash flow during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This means that all businesses with a UK VAT registration have the option to defer VAT payments due between 20 March and 3‌0‌‌ June.

You therefore have until 3‌1‌‌ March 2021 to pay any VAT deferred as a result of this announcement.

You do not need to inform HMRC if you wish to defer payment. You can opt in to the deferral simply by not making VAT payments due in this period. If you pay by Direct Debit you should cancel this with your bank. You should do so in sufficient time so that HMRC does not attempt to automatically collect on receipt of their VAT return.

Should you wish, you can continue to make payments as normal during the deferral period. HMRC will also continue to pay repayment claims as normal. You must continue to submit VAT returns as normal.

For more information please go to GOV.UK.



COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme update
27 Mar 2020

Update received from HMRC, see below:

The government is committed to doing whatever it takes to support businesses and individuals through the Coronavirus pandemic. On 20 March as part of these efforts the Chancellor announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
 

This funding will be open to all employers with a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020, including charities. Employers can apply for grants of 80% of furloughed employees' (employees on a leave of absence) monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage, provided they keep the worker employed. The scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March 2020, if applicable. 

HMRC have been working night and day to develop this scheme, and we can now confirm that we have been able to publish further details of the scheme on GOV‌.UK. We are aiming to have the scheme up and running by the end of April 2020. More detailed guidance will be published in due course and please be assured we will advise you when the scheme is open. 

Guidance for employers is available on GOV.UK. You may also find the guidance for employees helpful. 



Coronavirus: UK government unveils aid for self-employed
27 Mar 2020

Self-employed workers can apply for a grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits to help them cope with the financial impact of coronavirus, the chancellor has announced.  

The money - up to a maximum of £2,500 a month - will be paid in a single lump sum, but will not begin to arrive until the start of June at the earliest.  

 

  • Self-employed people will be able to apply for a grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month.  
  • At least half their income needs to have come from self-employment as registered on the 2018-19 tax return filed in January - anyone who missed the filing deadline has four weeks from now to get it done and still qualify. 
  • The scheme is open to those who earn under £50,000 a year - up to 3.8 million of the 5 million people registered as self-employed. 
  • Unlike the employee scheme, the self-employed can continue to work as they receive support. 
  • The money, backdated to March, will arrive directly into people's banks accounts from HMRC, but not until June.  
  • The grants will be taxable, and will need to be declared on tax returns by January 2022. 
  • Company owners who pay themselves a dividend are not covered. 

Source BBC news, read full article here

Member weekly update including Coronavirus Fiscal measures
26 Mar 2020

Each week we will be producing an update for our member's of the week's news relating to fiscal measures relating to the motor trade in Scotland.

Weekly Update as at 26.3.20

CECRA write to European Commission about the implications of COVID-19
26 Mar 2020

SMTA is a member of CECRA and are fully supportive of their action to write to the European Commission, details below:


COVID-19 : Automotive sector letter to von der Leyen

Brussels, 26/03/2020

The European associations representing vehicle manufacturers (ACEA), suppliers (CLEPA), tyre manufacturers (ETRMA), dealers and repairers (CECRA) wrote a joint letter to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, about the implications of the COVID‐19 crisis on the automotive sector and the measures that the European Commission could potentially take in this context.

Please, find the letter here :
COVID-19 : Automotive sector letter to von der Leyen

Update to businesses and premises that can stay open - repair shops added
26 Mar 2020

Today the UK Government provided a further update on businesses and premises that are exempt from closure and clarified that repair shops are now on the list, please see below.

All retail to close with notable exceptions:

• Supermarkets and other food shops
• Medical services (such as dental surgeries, opticians and audiology clinics, physiotherapy clinics, chirpody and podiatry clinics, and other professional vocational medical services)
• Pharmacies and chemists, including non-dispensing pharmacies
• Petrol stations
• Bicycle shops
• Hardware shops and equipment, plant and tool hire
• Veterinary surgeries and pet shops
• Corner shops and newsagents
• Off-licences and licenced shops selling alcohol, including those within breweries
• Laundrettes and dry cleaners
• Post Offices
• Vehicle rental services
Car garages and repair shops
• Car parks
• High street banks, building societies, short-term loan providers, credit unions and cash points
• Storage and distribution facilities, including delivery drop off points
• Public toilets
• Shopping centres should stay open if they contain units which are not required to close


Launch of Scottish business support grants - Find out how to apply
25 Mar 2020



Scottish Business Support Grants 

Two types of grants are available:

1. Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value between £18,001 and up to and including £50,999     will be able to apply for a one-off grant of £25,000.
 

2. A one-off grant of £10,000 will also be available to small businesses who get: 

Applying for a grant and getting paid:

To apply, you'll need to complete an application form. Please follow the appropriate council links below:

Aberdeen City
Aberdeenshire
Angus
Argyll & Bute
Clackmannanshire
Dumfries & Galloway
Dundee City
East Ayrshire
East Dunbartonshire
East Lothian
East Renfrewshire
Edinburgh
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
Falkirk
Fife
Glasgow City
Highland
Inverclyde
Midlothian - Apply via Edinburgh City Council 
Moray
North Ayrshire
North Lanarkshire
Orkney Islands
Perth & Kinross
Renfrewshire
Scottish Borders
Shetland Islands
South Ayrshire
South Lanarkshire
Stirling
West Dunbartonshire
West Lothian































 



SME Fraud Awareness
25 Mar 2020

We have been made aware by Co-operative Bank of a few high value fraud cases recently whereby business customers have fallen victim to invoice diversion scams (fake email/hacked emails requesting payment and that the account details to send it to have changed).

 

Please find attached details of the current scams that the bank has been made aware off and a leaflet that the Co-operative Bank has produced.

Coronavirus - How criminals are preying on fears of Covid-19

SME Fraud Awareness Brochure from Co-operative Bank

 

 



Update for garages - Lawgistics
25 Mar 2020

Please see a link below to an update from Lawgistics who provide info on whether your business should be open or closed and offer guidance on the next step to furlough an employee.

Lawgistics Update

Breaking news - MOTs extended for 6 months
25 Mar 2020
MOT Assessment & Training Logging in Help
24 Mar 2020

If you are having problems logging into the system for your MOT annual training and assessment please find below a link to a document that will assist.

Remember you have until 31st March to complete your training and assessment.

MOT Training & Assessment Logging in Helpsheet

 



£1 billion Business Support Fund opens - Scottish Government
24 Mar 2020

Grants to help businesses with COVID-19 impact.

Read full article here


Businesses can now apply for grants to help them deal with the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The one-off grants are designed to help protect jobs, prevent business closures and promote economic recovery, and more than 90,000 ratepayers across Scotland will be able to benefit.

The grant support is additional to separate tax relief measures and is part of a package of measures worth £2.2 billion.

Small businesses in receipt of the small business bonus scheme or rural relief, as well as hospitality, leisure and retail business can benefit.

Two types of grant are now available to ratepayers:

• a one-off £10,000 grant to ratepayers of small businesses

• a one-off grant of £25,000 available to retail, hospitality and leisure business ratepayers with a rateable value between £18,001 and £50,999

The list is not exhaustive and if businesses think they may be eligible for one of these grants, they should contact their local authority, which are administering the scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Cabinet Secretary for Finance Kate Forbes said:

“While our primary concern is for people’s health, it is clear that the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak will have severe economic consequences, and we are treating it as an economic emergency.

“We are determined to help keep companies in business and support them and their staff during this difficult time.

“Local authorities are the most efficient way to deliver this and we have worked closely with them to deliver these measures – and eligible businesses can apply now.

“Local authorities will aim to make payments within 10 working days, and I’d like to thank them for their help in ensuring this support is delivered as quickly as possible.

“The COVID-19 situation, however, is both severe and fast-moving and requires a coordinated UK response: I will continue to work closely with the UK Government and the other devolved administrations.”



Garages are exceptions to closure
24 Mar 2020

Please find the latest information we have from the UK Government advising that under their list of exceptions to closure include, Garages, Petrol Stations and Car Rentals.

Guidance notes - see page 3 for exceptions to closure

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
23 Mar 2020

If you are faced with having to furlough your employees as part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme here are two documents that will assist.  One is a letter template to issue to your employees and guidance on what it means to furlough employees.

Furlough Notice - letter template

Government Guidance on Job Retention Scheme

MOT testing to continue on cars but heavy goods vehicles MOTs are suspended (HGVs and PSVs)
23 Mar 2020

At present (23 March 2020 2pm) MOT tests will continue,  The Department for Transport continues to keep MOT testing for cars, motorcycles and light vans under review. They will provide an update in due course.

The DVSA has suspended MOTs for all heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and public service vehicles (PSVs) for up to 3 months from 21 March 2020.  All HGV and PSV vehicles with an MOT will be issued with a 3-month certificate of temporary exemption (CTE) until further notice. 

Vehicles must be maintained, kept safe to drive (roadworthy) and operate within the terms of operators’ licence conditions.





 



The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is now available through participating lenders
23 Mar 2020

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is now available to UK businesses experiencing cashflow disruptions or increased costs during the Covid-19 outbreak

https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/

Bank of Scotland's support for businesses impacted by Coronavirus

https://business.bankofscotland.co.uk/business-home/coronavirus/cbils.html?WT.ac=bos-bb_and_sme-covid_19-support-tile-FOM-cbils_homepage

Royal Bank of Scotland's support for business impacted by Coronavirus

https://www.business.rbs.co.uk/business/support-centre/service-status/coronavirus/government-scheme.html





Guest speaker announced!
02 Mar 2020

We are delighted to announce our guest speaker for our Annual Dinner & Awards 2020 is 'Eddie The Eagle Edwards'!

Eddie Edwards, also known as Eddie ‘the Eagle’, is a British skier and Olympic speaker who was the first Briton to compete in the Olympic ski jumping challenge at the 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary. Born in Gloustershire Edwards made his first attempt to join the British Olympic’ team in 1984, narrowly missing out on a place in the downhill skiing team.

It was Edwards’ determination and arguably his lack of success that made him so popular amongst audiences however and Edwards has continued to feed off of this success in his work as a sports speaker in the years’ that followed. Edwards’ lack of success at Calgary inspired the instigation of the Eagle Rule at Olympic qualifications, which states that competitors must achieve a certain level of success in international tournaments before they can qualify to represent their country.

Arnold Clark wins at AM Awards 2020
18 Feb 2020

Almost a thousand motor industry executives gathered at Birmingham's ICC for the 2020 AM Awards gala dinner and ceremony to celebrate many of the best businesses, teams, individuals and products in the UK's motor retail industry.

Congratulations to SMTA member Arnold Clark who won three awards: Dealer Group of the Year – sponsored by Black Horse; Best Dealer Group (more than 10 sites) – sponsored by heycar and Best Used Car Dealer Group (franchised and independent) – sponsored by Autoclenz 

For a full lilst of all winners click the link: https://www.am-online.com/news/latest-news/2020/02/03/am-awards-2020-the-results

Article: AM Online

 



CECRA latest update
06 Feb 2020

CECRA update on renewal process of the vertical block exemption

Automotive BER 461/2010:



  • Fact-finding study and the public consultation planned for Q3/2020;
  • Evaluation report: 2021;
  • The input should be on the performance of the current regime and not, at this stage, on what the post-2023 will look like.
All channels: franchising resolution (with the announced discussion in the European Competition Network), and Unfair Practices will continue to be analyzed.

DVLA changes policy on trade plate use with pre-registrations
23 Jan 2020

The DVLA has revised its official policy on trade plates following lobbying from the Used Vehicle Industry Group (UVIG) over worries about dealers using untaxed ex-demos and pre-registered cars.

Under the old policy, dealers could not use trade plates on cars were they were the registered keeper of the vehicle, such as with ex-demonstrators or pre-registered cars.

Dominic Threlfall, managing director of Pebley Beach Group and a member of the UVIG, said: "To test drive these cars you officially would have to tax them. The reality being a lot of dealerships were not aware of this, and those that were ignored it and potentially left themselves open to prosecution.

"After significant canvassing, we are now able to transfer our own cars into 'trade' and then used trade plates on them.

"It seems a small change, but it will keep dealerships legal."

The DVLA's update states that dealers should inform it online when they're transfering a vehicle into sale stock, and they'll no longer be registered as the keeper "and the vehicle will be notified as transferred out of your business, or to another section of your business, as trade stock for sale. The trade plates can then be used to test drive the vehicle by a prospective buyer."

Threlfall said the UVIG has members representing trade associations, motor auctions, dealerships and finance and leasing companies, and one of its aims is to help the industry optimise the use of DVLA systems, which are very consumer focused and can be quite an administration burden for dealerships.

He believes the DVLA will pay closer attention to cars transferred into trade in the future, as vehicles between owners might be transferred multiple times between traders and it is difficult for DVLA to know exactly where they are at any point.

If parking or speeding infringements occur that creates an issue for the DVLA and dealerships, said Threlfall.

Article: AM Online



New Renault tech links cars with homes
08 Jan 2020

Renault is developing a new connectivity service that will link its cars with smart-home devices, allowing owners to control objects in their home from their car.

The French car maker has partnered with smart-home technology specialist Otodo in order to develop the new service.

It will be available in all Renault models fitted with Easy Link infotainment systems, including the new Zoe, Clio and Captur.

With this new connectivity service, users can control various objects in their home directly from their vehicle’s dashboard, as well as send instructions from their home, using a smartphone or connected speaker, to their connected Renault vehicle to prepare or share an itinerary.

Users select the objects they want to include in the available scenarios, and the instructions associated with each object.

The Leaving Home scenario puts their home to “sleep” by switching the thermostat to energy-saving mode, closing the shutters and turning off the lights.

The Arriving Home scenario wakes it up.

Users then decide when they want the system to prompt them to activate the scenarios based on the distance between the vehicle and home.

Jean-François Labal, marketing and partnership head for Connected Cars and Services at Groupe Renault, said: “Cars need to blend into our digital lives. With this service, we’re offering our customers a trailblazing experience and a completely secure system to connect their home’s connected objects to their vehicle. The interface to set it up is very intuitive and it comes with two advantages: it’s automatic so it makes life simpler and it saves energy by switching lights and heating on and off as needed.”

The service, which is being previewed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), is expected to be operational in 2020.

Article: AM Online



November New Car Registrations
10 Dec 2019

“It’s business as usual” but not as we would want it to be! Sandy Burgess Chief Executive of the Scottish Motor Trade Association commenting on the new car registration results for Scotland in November 2019 has highlighted the continual decline in the industry results as “disappointing but understandable” given the political turmoil of late”!

Scotland’s results for the month came in at 4.21% down on the same period in 2018, this equates to 522 less new cars being registered across the country, the largest percentage drop was in the Borders at 22.73% down and then Dumfries & Galloway at 18.73%, there was two areas of growth in Lothian up 2.43% and Central at 1.74%.

The Scottish private car market continues to show resilience against the rest of the UK which is encouraging for the future, alternative fueled vehicles continue to grow ahead of any market conditions as more and more motorists embrace the transition to electric or hybrid technology. Registrations for pure electric in November 2019 come in at 2.74% against the same period in 2018 at 0.6% and hybrids measure 6.09% against 4.98% for the month 2019 & 18 respectively.

The market is in dire need of political resolution and some level of financial stability to allow a return to a stable market, the deals are out there, the dealers are prepared, stocked and trained, there is a growing desire for transition to clean, economical and technically outstanding vehicles, bring it on!



SMTA Trading Partners - Win with Yokohama
04 Dec 2019

**SPECIAL DECEMBER OFFER**
 
Purchase 24 Yokohama tyres via Trading Partners for stock during December 2019 and receive a further discount of £5.00 per tyre, (£120).  This purchase would also qualify for 3 vouchers to enter into the prize draw.




Don't miss out on our fantastic offer from SMTA Trading Partners in conjunction with Yokohama - your chance to win 2 tickets to see Chelsea FC with hospitality at Stamford Bridge courtesy of Yokohama! The prize includes full corporate hospitality, return flights and overnight accommodation! (Terms and Conditions apply please ask for details).

All you need to do is purchase tyres from Yokohama using your SMTA Trading Partners account from now until end of February (remember there's an additional special offer for the month of December!) and for our members who don’t have a Trading Partners account and wish to participate please contact one of our Territory Account Managers who will be more than happy to help.  Remember, joining SMTA Trading Partners is free. 

Contact our Territory Account Managers today!

David McNeill - Eastern Region - 07375 057560
Marcus Lawrence - Western Region - 07375 057561
Graham Bruce - Northern Region - 07766 695265



Park's open Lamborghini showroom in Leeds
27 Nov 2019

Park’s Motor Group had helped to expand the Automobili Lamborghini UK dealership network with the opening of a new showroom in Leeds.

The Scottish AM100 retail group officially opened the doors at its second Leeds supercar showroom of 2019 – it opened its new McLaren Automotive franchise last month – to take the Italian carmaker’s UK representation to 11 locations.

Park’s will look to grow the success with supercars with the opening of its first Lamborghini franchise.  Earlier this year the group’s McLaren Glasgow facility was named the British brand’s European Retailer of the Year for the third time in four years.

Ross Park said: “We are delighted to be appointed to the Lamborghini franchise and to open this new Leeds location.  “Park’s Motor Group has a stated commitment to growth through providing the best possible service to our clients, which reflects the demands of Lamborghini and its discerning clientele.  “The investment made in this new showroom and an expert team demonstrates our commitment and enthusiasm for playing a significant role in Lamborghini’s future success in the region.”

Park’s Motor Group had helped to expand the Automobili Lamborghini UK dealership network with the opening of a new showroom in Leeds.

The Scottish AM100 retail group officially opened the doors at its second Leeds supercar showroom of 2019 – it opened its new McLaren Automotive franchise last month – to take the Italian carmaker’s UK representation to 11 locations.

Park’s will look to grow the success with supercars with the opening of its first Lamborghini franchise.  Earlier this year the group’s McLaren Glasgow facility was named the British brand’s European Retailer of the Year for the third time in four years.

Andrea Baldi, the chief executive of Automobili Lamborghini EMEA Region, together with Park’s Director Ross Park, welcomed more than 200 guests to an inauguration ceremony last week where the latest Lamborghini models were presented, including the new Huracán EVO coupé and Spyder.

Article credit: AM Online



CECRA meet in London to discuss the future of independent repairers
25 Nov 2019

SMTA's Chief Executive, Sandy Burgess attended an important meeting of CECRAs Independent repairers division which took place in London on 19th November. Many points concerning the future of Independent Repairers were highlighted.

A large number of CECRA's members delegations discussed the overall future of Independent repairers during a meeting organised by CECRA's UK member, IGA.

The division especially emphasised the issues concerning the vehicle access to data and the implementation of SERMI (Security related Repair and Maintenance Information).


SMTA Annual Dinner Generous Guests Help Raise Funds for Two Worthy Charities
12 Nov 2019

We are delighted to advise that a fantastic £4,970 was raised at last Thursday's Annual Dinner & Awards.  This will be split between our two chosen charities - CHAS and Beatson.  A massive thank you to our generous guests

Meet our special guest at our Annual Dinner....
05 Nov 2019

Looks like someone is ready to attend the SMTA Annual Dinner 2019 this Thursday.  Big Ted is looking forward to meeting everyone on the 7th November and he's looking forward to meeting his new owner!

#smtadinner

NFDA - The Consumer Attitude Survey
24 Oct 2019

Despite the increasingly important role played by the internet in the consumer buying journey, physical dealerships remain key, the latest NFDA Consumer Attitude Survey revealed.

The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers across the UK, is pleased to announce the findings of consumer vehicle purchasing patterns in the UK.

The Consumer Attitude Survey was commissioned by the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers across the UK, and executed by Public Knowledge, a leading market research agency. This is the 'Dealer Insight' of the seventh edition of the survey, which polled 2,000 consumers across the UK in a 15-minute online survey.

The NFDA Consumer Attitude Survey revealed that 75% of car purchases, for cars under seven years old, are made at franchised dealers; 14% are made at independent garages; 5% at used car supermarkets and 5% from private sellers. When considering only brand-new cars, 93% of them were bought at franchised dealerships.

The survey found that 50% of consumers visit a car dealership website before purchasing a vehicle. However, surprisingly, 32% of respondents bought a car from a physical franchised dealership without using any dealer, manufacturer or other car sales website before buying the car. Buyers of prestige brands are significantly more likely to visit manufacturer websites, 46%, and research in papers/magazines, 13%, than those buying volume brands, 32% and 8%, respectively.

The findings showed that 63% of consumers intend to purchase their next vehicle from a franchised dealer showroom and 9% from a franchised dealer website.

Read more of the article here



UK Auto gives reality check on ‘no deal’ Brexit, as new survey shows one in three firms already shedding jobs
21 Oct 2019

  • New survey shows escalating fears of ‘no deal’ Brexit to UK automotive sector, with a third cutting jobs and 80.3% concerned about damage to their future business prospects.
  • More than £500m already wasted on measures that will not deliver returns, rather than being invested in much-needed R&D.
  • Profitability, new business opportunities and investment all under threat as industry faces £5bn WTO tariff bill on cars and vans alone – a cost which cannot be mitigated.
  • All sides urged to agree an orderly withdrawal with sufficient transition time to negotiate an ambitious free and frictionless economic relationship between the UK and the EU.

The results are consistent and striking. One in three UK automotive businesses is already cutting jobs, up from one in eight when the survey was last carried out in November 2018. Four-fifths (80.3%) fear leaving the EU without a deal will have negative consequences for their future prospects (up from 74.1% 10 months ago).

Virtually the same number (79.6%) are worried about the impact on their profitability while two-thirds (62.2%) are saying ‘no deal’ will impact their ability to win overseas business and a similar number state that they will be unable to invest in their UK operations.

In a sign that the mere threat of ‘no deal’ has already hurt the UK, 11.8% of firms said that they had already divested from their UK-based operations and 13.4% are relocating operations overseas. Overall, three quarters (77.2%) of firms say that there has already been a negative impact on business even before the UK has left the EU.

Read full story here

Credit: SMMT

Park’s Motor Group opens new McLaren Leeds supercar showroom
14 Oct 2019

Park’s Motor Group has officially opened the doors at its new McLaren Automotive supercar showroom facility in Leeds – after 17 months trading from a temporary facility.

The AM100 retail group, whose McLaren dealership in Glasgow was named as the British supercar brand’s European Retailer of the Year for the third time in four years back in March, welcomed visitors to its new site on Aire Valley Drive, Leeds, on October 2 at an event which saw the dealership packed with classic McLaren cars.

It also marked the completion of a development which saw the dealership's workforce operate from a temporary facility after the franchise point joined the McLaren network in May, 2018.

Read the full article here

Article courtesy AM Online

Scottish new car registrations record declines in key September market across all regions!
07 Oct 2019

  • Scotland’s new car registrations market declines 11.28% in September against same period last year. There can be no doubt that the political uncertainties consumers are faced with daily is causing a drop off in buyer’s confidence.
  • Year to date figures are also down against last year by 4.67% and only two regions of Scotland are now recoding growth year to date, Tayside and Central
  • These figures equate to a drop of 3,515 units in September alone and 7,093 year-to-date.

September’s volumes did see the traditional Scottish market being held up by the private buyer recording a registration mix of 56.4% with the fleet and business sectors slowing quite significantly against previous recording declines of 11.57% and 64.39% respectively.

As elsewhere in the UK there was good news for battery electric cars (BEVs), which saw the continued growth recording 5.05% share for Hybrid and 1.79% share for pure electric during the month, as more and more manufacturers bring new variants to market this number should increase.

Sandy Burgess, SMTA Chief Executive, said, “September is one of the industry’s key critical months, such a dramatic fall of in levels of business is very concerning and the politicians must take heed of the serious consequences being recorded across our sector as a result of the continued stalemate and theatre being played out in Westminster and Holyrood!

The Scottish market has recorded a dramatic drop off when the rest of the UK has had a more modest result, this is most certainly impacted by the additional pressure we have given the 2032 ambitions of the Scottish Government, which in principle we are supportive of, but we have been calling for detail and structure to these ambitions for two years now and there has been very little detail provided for business or consumer to  take a structured decision about their future mobility purchase plans.”



Diesel decline slowing
03 Oct 2019

Sales of new diesel cars have fallen for the 29th month in a row, although the pace of decline is slowing, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 

Its figures show August 2019s new car market was 1.6% behind August 2018, at 92,573 car sales.  Within that, petrol and alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) rose in demand, but diesel orders dropped 12.2%.

Registrations from both the private and fleet sectors decline in the month, down 1.7% and 3.5% respectively, as demand in the small volume business segment increased by some 962 units.

Zero-emission cars grew fastest, up 377.5% to 3,147 units, as new models and some pent up demand boosted registrations, while 4,014 hybrid electric cars also joined UK roads, an uplift of 36.2%.  However, the decline in plug-in hybrid registrations continued, down 71.8% to just 907 vehicles.

Credit: Automotive Management

Arnold Clark to install defibrillators at dealerships
23 Sep 2019

Arnold Clark is to install 164 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in its network of dealerships at a cost of £150,000.

The defibrillators will be used to help staff, customers and the wider community in case of an emergency.

It said that 400 of the 12,000 staff have been trained in CPR and using a defibrillator unit.

The defibrillators provide clear instructions to allow anyone to use them, both in writing and in the form of an automated voice.

Once the pads have been correctly attached, it assesses the heart rhythm and will only administer a shock if it is needed.

Arnold Clark has also embarked on an information campaign within the communities they work in, sending leaflets to local businesses to let them know that there are defibrillators on site should they be required.

Last year Pendragon agreed a deal with St John Ambulance to install ZOLL AED Plus defibrillators at all dealerships, service centres, accident repair body shops, and preparation centres across the group’s network (AED: automated external defibrillator)

Arnold Clark CEO and group MD Eddie Hawthorne said: “Hundreds of people visit Arnold Clark every day, our employees, our customers, our suppliers, our manufacturers and just general visitors to our sites.

So we are taking a stand in our local community to make sure we provide a service that’s valuable – and that’s to make sure there’s a defib machine in our garages. Even when we are closed, there are still 21 external defibs available to the wider community.”

Recently the British Heart Foundation visited Arnold Clark’s GTG Edinburgh training centre in order to provide training to a number of employees.

(Article courtesy Motortrader.com)



Automobile industry values in the EU
18 Sep 2019



- 13.8 million Europeans work in the auto industry (directly and indirectly), accounting for 6.1% of all EU jobs.
- 11.4% of EU manufacturing jobs – some 3.5 million – are in the automotive sector.
- Motor vehicles account for €428 billion in taxes in the EU15 countries alone.
- The automobile industry generates a trade surplus of €84.4 billion for the EU.
- The turnover generated by the auto industry represents over 7% of EU GDP.
- Investing €57.4 billion in R&D annually, the automotive sector is Europe's largest private contributor to innovation,
   accounting for 28% of total EU spending.

Member success - Mobityre & Autocare
12 Sep 2019

SMTA members - Mobityre & Autocare based in Kilmarnock were proud wiinners at Ayrshire Business Awards 2019 and won the award for 'Best Service Company' - recognising the best in business held earlier this year at Ayr Racecourse. 

Congratulations from everyone at the SMTA!

mobiletyrefittingscotland.co.uk











Workplace parking levy
09 Sep 2019

MSPs have backed plans to introduce powers for local councils to implement a levy on workplace parking spots.

SMTA will continue to discuss the workplace parking levy with Transport Scotland and challenge them to give us a hearing for the motor industry to be given a blanket exception against this scheme.  More updates on this matter will follow.


Scottish New Car Registrations buck the trend
05 Sep 2019

New car registrations in Scotland for the month of August rose by 1.66% against a drop in the rest of the UK by -1.88% meaning the result for the whole of the month of August was -1.62%.

Stronger business registrations (up by 72.35%) and fleet (up by 7.51%) compensated for the marginal drop in private registrations of (-5.47%) when measured against August 2018. The private results are no real surprise given that private buyers are more plate conscious than the business operator and the up-coming September 69 plate launch.

Fuel mix sees continued growth of the electric vehicle sector in both hybrid and pure electric formats, the latter showing the greatest growth.

Overall year to date the Scottish market continues to out perform the rest of the UK albeit they are both in decline on last years results, Scotland down by -2.97% and the rest of the UK down by -3.40% respectively.

Sandy Burgess, SMTA Chief Executive, said “With all the uncertainty around supply and the dreaded Brexit situation I am delighted to confirm that our market is continuing to hold its own at these very challenging times for private consumers and businesses across Scotland.  The new September 69 plate is now starting to be seen across the county and with a number of very strong retail and business incentives available in our members showrooms I would be confident that our industry will rise above the general noise in the market place and deliver a strong result for the month ahead.”



MOT fails due to exhaust issues drop despite stricter tests for diesel vehicles
02 Sep 2019

Fewer cars are failing their MOT test for exhaust issues, despite the introduction of new, more strict, regulations.

Data from Protyre reveals that there has been a 21% decrease in the proportion of cars that failed an MOT test in the last year.

The DVSA introduced new legislation on May 20, 2018, affecting diesel cars with diesel particulate filters. These cars will fail the test if any visiable smoke is seen coming from the exhaust tailpipes.

David Sholicar, Protyre’s national retail operations manager, said: “The fall in the proportion of MOT fails attributed to exhaust issues at first appears surprising as the new MOT test includes stricter regulations on emissions from diesel cars. The test changes also mean that it is now law that any car with a diesel particulate filter automatically fails its MOT if smoke is visible from its exhaust.”

Analysis from Protyre shows that only 7% of diesel vehicles that failed their MOT test did so because of issues with the exhaust - compared to 11% of all vehicles overall that failed their MOT test because of exhaust issues.

These new figures come despite overall increases in the raw number of MOT tests that failed because of exhaust issues shown in the most up-to-date DVSA figures.

“One reason for this reduction is down to the reduced popularity of diesel cars and nationwide year-on-year decreases in sales of new diesel vehicles in recent years of up to 20%. However, the data also shows that the decreased proportion of MOT fails (despite an overall increase in numbers) is likely down to stricter criteria on other components,” Sholicar added.

The data also shows a 7% year-on-year increase in the proportion of MOT tests that failed because of warning lights and a 7% year-on-year decrease in the proportion fails because of faulty brakes.

The proportion of MOT test fails attributed to failed suspension compontents decreased 11% and the proportion attributed to faulty car lamps also decreased 8%.

The new MOT test includes new testable items related to braking device performance, the daytime running of lamps and the Engine Malfunction Indicator Lamp.

In the year since the changes to the MOT test, faulty suspension was the most common reason for a test fail, followed by brakes, lamps, tyres and obstructions to drivers’ view of the road.

Article courtesy AM Online



July data shows rising demand for electric cars in Europe
29 Aug 2019

Electric vehicle registrations in Europe totalled 96,000 units in July, as the fuel type's share of the monthly market reached 7.4%.

The growth - 29% up year-on-year - was driven by Tesla – the top-selling brand – and Renault, which saw a 103% volume increase after its Zoe model became the top-selling BEV during the month. Other notable results included Volkswagen, where volume was up by 64%, Hyundai, where volume was up by 334%, and Audi, which sold 1,735 units of the E-Tron.

“Even if they still makeup a comparatively marginal part of the overall market, electric vehicles are definitely becoming the industry’s bright spot during these challenging times,” said Felipe Munoz, JATO’s global analyst.

The increase in EV’s market share came as a pure electric cars (BEVs) volume rose 98% to 23,200 units.

Hybrid vehicles also performed well in July, as demand increased by 27% to 56,800 units.

Read full article at AM Online



Former Volkswagen boss Ferdinand Piëch dies
28 Aug 2019

Ferdinand Piëch, one of the architects of today's Volkswagen Group, has died aged 82.

Piëch became Volkswagen CEO in 1993 when the company was in financial difficulty, and by the time he stepped down as chairman in 2015, just months before news broke of the group's diesel emissions cheating, it had become a global automotive giant, with eight brands.

He turned around the business after backing a modular construction technique which allowed the Audi, Skoda, Seat and Volkswagen brands to share up to 65% common parts, helping Volkswagen Group to attain greater economies of scale.

And it bought Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini to expand into the ultra wealthy end of the car market.

Developments and innovations during his reign included the Audi A2, dual clutch transmission, the Bugatti Veyron and the iconic Audi Quattro.

Read full article at AM Online https://www.am-online.com/news/people-news/2019/08/27/former-volkswagen-boss-ferdinand-piech-dies



Government doubles funding for on-street electric car charging
12 Aug 2019

The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) has welcomed a Government decision to double its funding of electric vehicle (EV) charge points in residential streets.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps announced this morning (August 12) that an additional £2.5 million would be added to fund more than 1,000 new chargepoints on residential streets. 

“It is positive to see that the Government has announced additional funds for chargepoints on residential streets”, said Sue Robinson, director of the NFDA.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced an additional £2.5 million to fund the installation of over 1,000 new chargepoints. The allocation of funding for on-street residential chargepoints is part of the £1.5 billion investment underpinned by the Road to Zero Strategy.

The strategy will also deliver £37 million of Government investment into British engineering to develop electric chargepoint infrastructure that could rapidly expand the UK chargepoint network for people without off-street parking and put the UK on the map as the best place in the world to own an EV.

Shapps said that it was vital that electric vehicle drivers “feel confident about the availability of chargepoints near their homes, and that charging an electric car is seen as easy as plugging in a smartphone”.

Additionally, in July, the Government announced that all newly installed rapid and higher powered chargepoints should provide debit or credit card payment by spring 2020.

Read full article on AM Online:  www.am-online.com/news/market-insight/2019/08/12/nfda-welcomes-doubling-of-residential-ev-charge-points-funding




Government will remove BIK company car tax on EVs from 2020/21
10 Jul 2019

Company car drivers choosing a pure electric vehicle (EV) will pay no benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax in 2020/21 following a Government review which looks set to boost sales of emissions-free cars.

In its response to its review of the fallout from the roll-out of the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) introduced on September 1 last year, and its effect on vehicle taxes, HM Treasury has binned the previously published BIK rates for 2020/21, AM’s sister title Fleet News reported.

The changes will be a huge boost to EV retailers and manufacturers with a strong alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) offering keen to embrace corporate sales but could prove a blow to those yet to fully embrace zero-emissions technology, including the likes of Suzuki, which recently announced the launch of its own business partner programme.

In place of the old taxation system it has now created two new BIK tables for company car drivers; a table for those driving a company car registered after April 6, 2020, and one for those driving a company car registered before April 6, 2020.

HM Treasury has said that for cars first registered from April 6, 2020, most company car tax rates will be reduced by two percentage points.  That means for a pure electric vehicle with zero tailpipe emissions, company car drivers will be taxed at 0%, paying no BIK tax at all.

Furthermore, the zero percentage rate is also extended to company car drivers in pure electric vehicles registered prior to April 6, 2020, who were already looking forward to a much reduced rate of 2% for 2020/21.

The 0% rate will also apply to company cars registered from April 6, 2020, with emissions from 1-50g/km and a pure electric mile range of 130 miles or more.

For the BIK tables and full article from AM Online visit: https://bit.ly/2S4tZaP



SMTA Members listed in AM100 2019
09 Jul 2019

AM100: the largest 100 UK automotive retail groups by turnover includes six SMTA members

Ranked No. 2 is - Lookers with a turnover of £5,131,300

Ranked No. 4 is - Arnold Clark with a turnover of £4,316,700

Ranked No. 18 is - John Clark Group with a turnover of £829,102

Ranked No. 19 is - Park's Motor Group with a turnover of £770,000

Ranked No. 22 is -  Eastern Holdings with a turnover of £700,000

Ranked No. 59 is - Peoples with a turnover of £274,411.


June delivers marginal .22% decline in Scottish car registrations
04 Jul 2019

  1. Scottish new car registrations decline by marginal .22% against same period last year, meanwhile the rest of the UK experience 5.28% on same period.
  2. UK overall records decline in alternatively fuelled vehicle demand as registrations fall for first time in 26 months.
  3. Rise in battery electric car registrations in UK but plug-in hybrid decline continues, falling -50.4%, as hybrids also take a hit.
  4. Scottish half year market falls 3.39% with 98,416 new cars registered in first six months, roughly in line with market expectations.


Scottish new car registrations declined by .22% across Scotland with differing fortunes in regions, Tayside recording a fantastic increase of 10.78% and at the other end of the scale Dumfries and Galloway falling by a massive 18.75% in the same period!

Demand grew across Scotland within the private sector, registrations seeing an increase of 12.42% equal to a whole private market return of 8,987 new vehicles, however the larger fleet and business registrations fell, down 7.42% and a massive 33.50% respectively.

The month saw growth for petrol and battery electric registrations.

Sandy Burgess, SMTA Chief Executive, said, “There is no doubt that any negative number is hard to accept, however there is some salvation in the growth of the private sector, regrettably this is not enough to balance the decline in the fleet and business sectors. We have too much uncertainty in the market place for far too long and the law makers and politicians must act quickly and collectively to bring an end to this by making decisions for our futures!”

The SMTA is happy to support the SMMT’s call for measures to be introduced to aid a smooth transition to zero emission transport, the SMMT recognize the need for world-class, long-term incentives and substantial investment in infrastructure. Fleet renewal remains the quickest way to address environmental concerns today and consumers should have the confidence – and support – to choose the new car that best meets their driving needs, whatever the technology, secure in the knowledge that it is safer and cleaner than ever before.”



Knockhill trackside sign manufacturer launches bespoke automotive interiors and seats range
03 Jul 2019

Award winning Scottish Company takes car interiors to a whole new level at Goodwood’s Festival of Speed 2019

After years of development, both in-house and externally, a unique method of bespoke customisation for car interiors and seats has its initial launch at Goodwood – Festival of Speed.

The special print faux leather has undergone vigorous testing including rigorous friction tests to meet the criteria of British Standards.

John Young, of John Young Signs and John Young Group, based in Cowdenbeath has developed a unique process for printing on car interiors developed from his sign making business (almost every trackside sign at Knockhill Racing Circuit has been manufactured by John).

Camat™ Design will be launching their automotive bespoke interiors and seats range with Golf bags and Harris Tweed Furniture to trigger your imagination and desires at  Stand No. 242 Goodwood Festival of Speed on 4th July 2019.



SMTA hand over cheque to RNLI
13 Jun 2019

Official cheque handover by Sandy Burgess, SMTA Chief Executive to the RNLI Lifeboat Station at Portpatrick.  The RNLI is one of SMTA's charity partners.

A big thank you to SMTA member, Glasgow McLaren (Park's Motor Group) for the use of the stunning car!

SMTA hand over cheque to Beatson Cancer Charity
11 Jun 2019

Guests at SMTA Annual Dinner 2018 raised a fantastic amount of money which was split between our charity partners - British Heart Foundation and Beatson Cancer Charity. 

The official cheque presentation for £3,000 was given in Glasgow to Beatson Cancer Charity's Director of Philanthrophy, Ian Murray along with some of his colleagues.

Thank you to SMTA member McLaren Glasgow for use of the 570S for the photo.

Scottish new vehicle registrations down 9.8% in May
10 Jun 2019

The Scottish new car market declined by 9.8% in May with 14,281 units registered, according to the Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA) using figures provided by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). As with the rest of the UK these results continue to reflect the level of uncertainty and confusion over the purchase of diesel fuelled vehicles and the on-going activity around the introduction of ultra-low emission zones (ULEZ) across Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee.

This is further exacerbated by the UK Governments unexplainable recent removal of the financial support incentive programme for the purchase of plug-in hybrid vehicles. There can also be no doubt that the underlying economic and political instability around Brexit and the current upheaval in Westminster amongst the two main political forces continues to affect consumer and business confidence alike.

Declines were recorded across fleets and business sales types in the month, declining by 14.5% & 70.3% respectively with registrations by private consumers growing by a most welcome 4.48%. This growth pushed the private registration share of the total market to 54.51% for the month, it was still however not enough to make up the growing shortfall to date.

Petrol registrations accounted for 68.67% of the market with Diesel at 25.24% and alternative fuels delivering 6.09%, fully electric still only represents less than 1% of the total market. Continued anti-diesel sentiment and the forthcoming introduction of ultra-low emission zones continues to affect buyer confidence. However, thanks to significant industry investment in new technology, the latest diesels are safer and cleaner than ever before and will not face charges or restrictions anywhere in Scotland or the UK.

Sandy Burgess, SMTA Chief Executive, said, “Recent confusing massages regarding potential for changes to UK Government policy and continued lack of detail around the soon to be introduced ULEZ areas in Scotland’s cities continue to affect consumer and business confidence, causing drivers to keep hold of their older, more polluting vehicles for longer. New vehciles are safer, cleaner and more advanced than ever and, with sophisticated safety, efficiency and comfort features as well as a host of attractive deals on offer, there has never been a better time to invest in a new car whether for business or on a personal basis.”



SMTA join CECRA
22 May 2019

SMTA has decided to take up full membership of CECRA - the voice of European vehicle dealers and repairers.  Their manifesto has common goals with our own ambitions and we intend to play a very proactive role with our membership of CECRA, ensuring that the voice of all our members, both franchised and independent are heard across Europe.

CECRA have four key agenda items:
  1. Monitoring policies affecting the automotoive distribution and repair sector;
  2. Advocating the interest of authorised dealers and repairers before the European regulatory bodies;
  3. Building up alliances with other European stakeholders and
  4. Identifying and sharing new business opportunities, practices and trends.

CECRA represents 336,720 enterprises of automotive trade and repair businesses.


April new car registrations grow by .74%!
09 May 2019

Sandy Burgess SMTA Chief Executive commented “April has returned the Scottish market to a degree of growth with a small increase on last year at 12,562 units versus 12,470 for 2018. This is by no means a turnaround as 7 of our 9 reporting regions have recorded a decline in the month with only 2, Strathclyde and Central recording the growth that has tipped the balance.

Petrol registrations have continued to lead the way, but diesel is showing some signs of recovery with the rate of decline slowing, this is indicative of the need for rural Scots to have access to cheap, reliable and more importantly clean efficient vehicles that are practical for the current fuel landscape.

The alternative fuelled market continues to grow at a significant rate, however we are now seeing clear evidence of the ill-timed and quite remarkable removal of the subsidy on hybrids by the UK Government as the registrations for these vehicles start to slow.

There remains a lot of work to do for the market place to evolve at the rate required to reach the utopia position as per the 2032 ambitions of the Scottish Government!”.



Ultra Low Emission Zones - SMTA meet with Transport Scotland
02 May 2019

SMTA's Chief Executive, Sandy Burgess and Company Secretary Moira Gaynor met with Transport Scotland discussing the future skills requirements for the Alternative Fuelled Vehicles and the introduction of the Ultra-Low Emission Zones in Glasgow and potential impacts on membership as a result of this plan.  The plan is to role this out across Scotland’s largest four cities Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee between 2018 and 2020.

What is a low emission zone?

Low emission zones set an environmental limit on certain road spaces, allowing access to only the cleanest vehicles and can help to transform towns and cities into cleaner, healthier places to live, work and visit.

Vehicles that do not meet the emission standards set for a low emission zones will not be able to enter the zone. A penalty charge will be payable by the vehicle’s registered keeper where a non-compliant vehicle enters unless it is exempt.


Low emission zones will be introduced into all other Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) by 2023 where evidence shows they are the appropriate option to improve air quality.  These actions are based on the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government 2017/18 commitments.

Over 10 million pounds (a 300% increase in air quality funding) is being invested in 2018/2019 to help establish low emission zones.

This is in addition to the £1.6m made available in 2017-18 to the Bus Emission Abatement Retrofit Programme (or BEAR) to support the bus sector in preparing for low emission zones. A one million pound air quality action fund has also been established to support local authorities in delivering a range of transport-related actions aimed at improving air quality.

The Scottish Government is working in partnership with local authorities to introduce low emission zones. This includes engagement with a wide range of stakeholders including transport organisations, businesses and members of the public.

Low emission zones set an environmental limit on certain road spaces, allowing access to only the cleanest vehicles and can help to transform towns and cities into cleaner, healthier places to live, work and visit.

Vehicles that do not meet the emission standards set for a low emission zones will not be able to enter the zone. A penalty charge will be payable by the vehicle’s registered keeper where a non-compliant vehicle enters unless it is exempt.



Citroen C1 Cup in association with the SMTA
25 Apr 2019

The opening round of the Scottish Motor Racing Championships saw the inaugural races of the new Citroen C1 Cup take place on Sunday 7 April at Knockhill. Despite some rather challenging weather conditions, there was some fantastic action with over 100 cars entered in total and 10 different race winners across the 16 races.

There were 11 cars on the grid and 9 of these were driven by complete newcomers to car racing, which is exactly what the championship was intended to do. The entrants included two College car teams, with Edinburgh College fielding a car for Tom Denham and West College Scotland fielding a car for Glenn Alcock.  Newcomers Ryan Smith and Finlay Brunton monopolised the top two steps of the podium in both races, taking a win and 2nd place finish each. The 2 races were competitive with both races seeing groups of 3 to 4 cars scrapping away throughout the race. Third in race 1 was Steven Morrison, and in race 2 it was Ross Dunn.

It looks like we could be welcoming more of these little cars to the grid for round 2, in May! 



Douglas Robertson Obituary
24 Apr 2019

Douglas Robertson former Chief Executive of the Scottish Motor Trade Association died on the 16th of April at St John’s Hospital in Livingston surrounded by his family.

Douglas joined the SMTA in 1997 as Finance Director and became Chief Executive of the Association in 1999 until his retirement from that role in 2015 and at his time of death Douglas was a Director on the SMTA Board.  Douglas played a pivotal part in the development of the SMTA in his 16 years as Chief Executive and during his time in charge of the organisation he worked with seven Presidents.  His challenge was to match the ambitions of each President with the ability of the business to meet the expectations of the membership whilst maintaining a sustainable working relationship with governments in Westminster and Holyrood, ensuring sustainability for the future was by no means an easy task!

The current SMTA President, Graham Greenwood commented “Douglas always brought his own style of guidance and commentary to the daily operation of the Association and we are most grateful for his years of service at SMTA.  The thoughts of all those associated with the SMTA are with his wife Susan and family at this very difficult time”.



Auto Skills Scotland Competition Winners
04 Apr 2019

The 2019 Auto Skills Scotland competition, sponsored by SMTA, took place recently with apprentices and students from across the country taking part in the live practical events in Automotive Technology at GTG Training in Glasgow and Body Repair New College Lanarkshire’s Motherwell campus.

After a keenly fought contest where the competitors demonstrated their skills and knowledge in a variety of repair processes, the worthy winners emerged.

Harry Chaundy from Arnold Clark took top place in Automotive Technology and Sam Meheux, also from Arnold Clark won the Body Repair competition. Harry and Sam will now progress to the WorldSkills UK National competition run by the IMI under the Skill Auto banner.



SMTA Annual Dinner - Guest Speaker Announced
28 Mar 2019

We are delighted to advise that our guest speaker at our Annual Dinner is Bonita Norris!

Bonita is an inspirational guest speaker and is the world’s youngest person to climb Everest and she’s also the youngest person to reach the North Pole!  Bonita will inspire and captivate you at our event as she tells us her stories of her adventures!  www.bonita-norris.com/

Visit our events page to find out more about our Annual Dinner and how to book your ticket!


 



MOT Seminars record attendance for 2019!
26 Mar 2019

SMTA members attended in record numbers to our five MOT seminars across the country in March.  Just over 700 people attended our seminars this year in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness. We would like to thank Dingbro and Yuasa Batteries for their support.

SMTA's Chief Executive wins award at IMI Annual Dinner
11 Mar 2019

Congratulations are in order for SMTA Chief Executive, Sandy Burgess who has won the award 'Contribution to the Motor Industry' at the IMI Annual Dinner recently held in London.  The award (sponsored by Autotech Recruit) was presented by HRH Prince Michael of Kent.

The award was judged by an independent panel of judges who unanimously agreed that Sandy was this year's winner!  The IMI Annual Dinner held at the Intercontinental Hotel, Park Lane was attended by 350+ attendees including UK and European industry chiefs.

 



A very special motor themed racing legends evening held to raise funds for Children with Cancer UK
07 Mar 2019

SMTA Members Leven Specialist Cars & Knockhill Racing Circuit helped raise funds for Children with Cancer UK.  A quality array of Scottish rising stars of Motorsport, that included current stars and racing legends assembled in Leven Specialist Cars Edinburgh showroom for an “Evening with the Stars” all in aid of Children with Cancer UK.

Almost £4000 was raised as the assembled 200 guests were entertained and amused by all the racing stories and anecdotes of the racers from the car and bike world as well as the rally world. Topping the bill were John Cleland, twice BTCC champion, Jimmy McRae, multiple rally champion and Gordon Shedden, three time BTCC champion.

Within the Leven Specialist Cars showroom filled with sports and supercar exotica, the star car was the 2019 Honda Civic BTCC car of Cobra Sport AMD with Autoaid /RCIB Insurance Racing Rory Butcher who has high hopes for the championship this year.  The evening was instigated between Kwik Fit and Knockhill Racing Circuit as Kwik Fit have pledged to raise £1 million for Children with Cancer UK in 2019 and with their title sponsorship of the British Touring Car Championship, it was a perfect fit to combine resources and contacts to host an evening for such a worthwhile charity.

 

Group photo: Back Row – Gordon Shedden, Stuart Louden, Jimmy McRae, John Cleland, Duncan Vincent, Graham Davidson, Rory Butcher.  Front Row – Aiden Moffat, Rory Skinner, Seb Melrose, Colin Noble Jnr, Dean McDonald, Graham Carroll

 



SMTA membership now stands at over 1,300 members and continues to grow - the highest number of members in over 50 years!
13 Feb 2019

PRESS RELEASE              

Wednesday the 13th February 2019

SMTA membership now stands at over 1,300 members and continues to grow -  the highest number of members in over 50 years!

Sandy Burgess, Chief Executive is delighted to advise that SMTA membership now exceeds 1,300 members, the highest number of members the SMTA has had in over 50 years.  Mr Burgess commented: “It is fantastic to see our membership continue to grow, significantly in the SME/Independent sector and it is encouraging to see that in these challenging times that the motor industry is facing, we are able to expand our membership base across Scotland and many of the islands.” 

He continued “SMTA has much to offer the Scottish motor trade including our unique buying group Trading Partners, Skills Solutions our modern apprenticeship scheme soon to be supported by an exciting IMI fully certificated online training programme, our in-house industry leading MOT QMS product, as well as our market leading fully Scottish based used car warranty company Scotsure and access to our industry specific SMTA Digital marketing service.

SMTA is member owned and member driven and has been ever since our inception in 1903.  Our motto is and always will be to ‘Encourage, Promote and Protect’.”



MEETING WITH MICHAEL MATHESON, CABINET SECRETARY FOR TRANSPORT, INFRASTRUCTURE AND CONNECTIVITY
06 Feb 2019

On 18th December 2018, Sandy Burgess CEO and Moira Gaynor, Company Secretary, met with Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity. The purpose of the meeting was to ascertain the Scottish Government’s aspirations for a 2032 target date for electric vehicles and what involvement the SMTA will have in this. Rebecca Campbell, Skills Lead Low Carbon Economy and Andy Robinson, Head of ULEV Delivery, both with Transport Scotland were also in attendance

 

Mr Matheson was very coy when asked how the 2032 date came about and what thought process had been used in the decision. However, the announcement in September 2017 that the Scottish Government had pledged to phase out new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2032 came under the tenure of Humza Yousaf, the then Minister for Transport and the Islands so perhaps it is a little unfair to shine the spotlight on Mr Mathieson. Regardless of how the date was arrived at, a target date of 2032 has been set and it is this we need to work towards.

 

Mr Matheson did indicate that the Scottish Government were taking time to reassess what would actually be required, and that this would involve more than just ensuring there were enough charging points to satisfy a perceived anticipated level of demand! It is clear from speaking with Mr Mathieson that he is well aware that this is an issue that will affect all areas of the motor trade in Scotland from Franchise dealers to small independent repairers. He was very receptive to the request that the SMTA be heavily involved in any developments and that the views of industry be taken into account. SMTA is well placed to be a major player in this and we welcome the news that the industry will have a voice, though remain sceptical as to how loud a voice we will be allowed.

 

Both Sandy and Moira voiced their opinion that training was a key element of this shift to electric vehicles and the safety of technicians working on these vehicles was paramount. Sandy went as far as to say that perhaps some kind of recognised qualification, as with MOT testers, should be required before technicians can carry out work. Rebecca indicated that  consideration was being given to adding an additional level to SVQ qualification for electric vehicles which would then give new technicians that additional qualification. Although this is a step in the right direction, we have stressed that funding needs to be made available for training for current apprentice technicians and also for qualified staff who will still be making up the workforce in 2032. Asking these people to pay for additional training without at least some help would be unreasonable. We have also asked that private training providers be able to access funding via the apprentice levy, which currently is only available to colleges.

 

In all we remain quietly confident that Mr Matheson will take on board the points we have brought before him and will afford SMTA the chance to work together with his office and Transport Scotland to deliver the best possible outcome for the Scottish Motor Trade and Scottish motorists.



Scottish Motor Club Racing Awards
12 Dec 2018

The annual Scottish Motor Racing Club awards night took place on Saturday the 17th November at the prestigious Sheraton Grand Hotel, Edinburgh. As sponsor of this year’s Hot Hatch and Fiesta ST championships the SMTA’s Chief Executive Sandy Burgess was in attendance to present the awards to the winners and top podium drivers for the seasons racing.

Congratulations to winners Wayne MacAulay, ST Champion and Chris Milford, Hot Hatch Champion. (Pictures show Blair Murdoch ST Runner Up and Chris Milford Hot Hatch Champion.



Guests at SMTA Dinner raise funds for British Heart Foundation Scotland
27 Nov 2018

Guests at SMTA Annual Dinner 2018 raised a fantastic amount of money that was split between our charity partners - British Heart Foundation and Beatson Cancer Charity. 

The official cheque presentation for £2,500 was given to BHF's Gizem Fowler who accepted the cheque from Chris Sainsbury DP at Rolls Royce Edinburgh.

Huge thanks to all who contributed to these two amazing charities.

SMTA Buttons4Ben Design Competition
27 Nov 2018

Sandy Burgess was delighted to hand over a cheque to Marianne Steel, Partnership Development Manager at Ben for £500 at SMTA's Annual Dinner 2018.

SMTA Annual Dinner & C.A.R Star Awards a huge success!
06 Nov 2018

On Thursday 1st November the SMTA held their Annual Dinner & C.A.R Star Awards 2018 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow. The event was very well attended by just under 400 guests from all areas of the motor trade in Scotland.

Congratulations to all our Community Activity Recognition (C.A.R Star) award winners on the night, highlighting the fantastic efforts of our members who contribute to their local communities and charities by doing amazing things to raise funds for charity and give back to their local community. We also had an additional two awards for our first ever Auto Skills Scotland event which was held at Motherwell College; this was in partnership with the IMI and supported by The Pettigrew Charitable Trust. Lastly, we also ran a design competition where SMTA teamed up with Energy Skills Partnership to create a fun to enter competition for all of Scotland’s colleges to create a livery design for a car.

This year’s winners were:
The Garage (Whitburn) Ltd • Adam Purves Mitsubishi • I&K Motors • Allied Vehicles Group • Dicksons of Inverness • John Clark Motor Group • E A McCarroll • Gerry Facenna – winner of our Special Recognition Award • Stuart Cochrane – winner of the first Auto Skills Scotland event • New College Lanarkshire – winner of our design competition

A huge congratulations to all our award winners on the night, and we will be featuring individual articles on each of our amazing award winners over the coming editions of Scots Auto Scene.

Our guest speaker was Adam Conlon, a former front-line British Army Captain who served two tours in Afghanistan as well as being part of Team Rubicon UK which unites the skills and experience of military veterans with first responders to deploy emergency response teams in the UK and around the world. Adam entertained our audience with his stories and added a touch of humour as well, a very informative and entertaining speaker!

We were also entertained by Neilston & District Pipe Band which as a little surprise for our guests as a homage to the haggis, this was a great addition to the night and thoroughly enjoyed by all our guests.

Our guests raised money on the night for our charity partners ‘British Heart Foundation Scotland’ and ‘Beatson Cancer Charity’, SMTA Annual Dinner guests are known for their generosity and they did not disappoint!

Thanks to all our sponsors on the evening, the main sponsor being Northridge Finance, with supporting support from Arnold Clark, Car Care Plan Insurance, Dingbro, Energy Skills Partnership, Fueltone Pro, Jelf Clark Thomson, Lateral Line, The Pettigrew Charitable Trust, Reynolds & Reynolds, Santander Consumer Finance and Viking Wholesale Tyres.

Thanks to all who attended!

Scottish Motor Racing Club at Rockingham Enduro!
27 Sep 2018

After being built on a stand at Knockhill last weekend, the Scottish Motor Racing Club’s Citroen C1 has successfully completed its motor racing debut in the three hour Rockingham Enduro!

The wee car gave us a couple of challenges but the drivers Steve Burns, Malcolm McNab and Rory Bryant put up a good fight to gain 12 places in the race and finish a credible 24th.

All drivers had a great time, really enjoyed driving the car - with close clean racing, these cars are going to be awesome at Knockhill next year!

Big thanks to all our partners for helping us to make this possible; SMTA, Sign Co, The Covey Agency. Also special thanks go to MiniMax Motorsport for their efforts building & preparing the car and to Paul Curtis for making the trip to spanner for us today.

2018 C.A.R Star Awards

The SMTA Annual Dinner and C.A.R. Star Awards event turned out to be yet another fantastic evening! Not only was it a great opportunity to network with other like-minded folk from the Scottish motor trade but it’s also where they celebrated the amazing work their members do for their local community and charities close to their hearts.

This year we introduced our Skills Stars Awards identifying the best young talent in Scotland’s automotive industry.

John Graham, Brownsburn Garage

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https://www.brownsburncarsalesairdrie.co.uk/
Automotive Technology Winner – Harry Chaundy

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Body Repair Winner – Sam Meheux

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Special Recognition Award

Douglas Park, Park’s Motor Group (award accepted on Douglas’ behalf by Ian Mackay)

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