Navendu Mishra MP has visited Lookers Skoda in Stockport as the NFDA Parliamentary Engagement Programme restarts to connect franchised dealers with their local MPs.
The National Franchised Dealer Association (NFDA) facilitated the visit that took place on Friday 18 February. The NFDA launched the engagement programme in 2017 to raise awareness of the role of the retail automotive sector and provide dealers with a platform to raise issues affecting their businesses.
Over the past years, a number of Parliamentarians have met with franchised retailers in their constituencies. During the pandemic, the programme was suspended, although the association’s interactions with Government departments and MPs on behalf of dealer members continued.
Mr Mishra’s visit was highly relevant as he has recently been appointed to Parliament’s Transport Committee. The meeting between the MP, Lookers and NFDA representatives saw discussions focusing on a range of issues facing automotive businesses and motorists. After the visit, the MP agreed to continue to work with NFDA and the sector going forward.
NFDA highlighted to the MP that to successfully decarbonise transport and drive the rollout of electrified vehicles, businesses and consumers alike should continue to be supported and incentivised. Also, regional inequalities must be addressed to improve the charging infrastructure and make it easily accessible to all drivers. The detrimental impact of the recent cuts to the Plug-In Car Grant and Home Charging Grant was also discussed.
Lookers described the steps has taken to improve quality of life for its employees. These include time off to volunteer, increased working flexibility and improvements to salary.
Business support and investments
Business rates were also one of the themes dealt with during the visit. NFDA detailed how the sector welcomed Labour’s proposal to cut - and eventually scrap - the rates.
Franchised dealers’ investment in jobs and their contributions to the local communities were also outlined.
Sue Robinson, NFDA Chief Executive, commented: “It is encouraging to see that the NFDA Parliamentary Engagement Programme continues to help us raise awareness of the central role played by franchised dealers not only in the automotive sector but also within their local community and the wider economy.
“Navendu Mishra MP’s visit provided an ideal opportunity to discuss a number of issues affecting our industry. These included the regional inequalities for the EV infrastructure and how to address them to support the growth of the EV market; the impacts of the cuts to the Plug-in Grant and Home Charging Grant; as well as, crucially, the scale of franchised dealers’ investments.
“We look forward to further developing our programme in 2022”.