The National Body Repair Association (NBRA), the trade association for the UK’s vehicle body repair shops is calling on the government to extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) through the end of December. The program is currently to expire at the end of October.
Despite body shops being permitted to remain open during the lockdown, as they provided an essential service, the 80% reduction in accident repair claims meant almost all had to close and place their staff on furlough.
Chris Weeks, NBRA Director said, “Whilst motor vehicle use has risen to the range of 90-100% of pre-lockdown levels, accident repair claims have lagged and sit at little over 60% of what they would normally be.”
The NBRA stated in a letter to the Chancellor that the 2,500 SMEs that comprise the sector are generally on low margins with high operating costs. It added that they cannot be expected to go on for long after the CJRS is withdrawn in this current economic environment.
“The only solution to this crisis in our sector is to extend the CJRS until there is a significant improvement in work volumes, or at the very least, until the end of December,” Weeks added. “The work our members do in keeping vehicles in a roadworthy condition is vital to keeping the UK’s roads safe – ensuring their viability through the COVID-19 crisis is essential.”