Treasury secretary responds to RMI submission

David Gauke MP, financial secretary to the Treasury, has written to the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) in response to the RMI’s pre-autumn statement submission.

The financial secretary agrees with the RMI’s detailed proposal and acknowledges the necessity of the automotive retail sector by stating: “Let me begin by making clear that I absolutely agree with you about the importance of the automotive retail sector to the UK economy. This will be critical to securing a strong and sustainable economic recovery”.

This marks a positive step in the government recognising the economic contributions of the retail side of the industry. Last year, it was reported that the automotive sector accounted for 4 per cent of the UK’s GDP (£60.5bn) and employed approximately 731,000 people across manufacturing, retail and aftermarket sectors.

Sue Robinson, RMI policy director comments, “It is encouraging to see that the needs of the industry are reflected in government policy and the RMI’s continued work surrounding policies such as apprenticeships are specifically recognised”.

This is of great significance following the RMI’s Independent Garage Associations (IGA) recent recruitment of a Trade and Local Authority Liaison Manager, created in response to the Government’s Apprenticeship Reform programme. This is the IGA’s latest initiative to help businesses employ and retain apprentices and promote the career opportunities of the industry to school leavers.

The role will be of crucial importance as the new apprenticeship reforms are set to be implemented by 2017 and will require employers to part fund and recruit apprentices, as well as negotiate training fees and payment schedules with training providers.

Stuart James, IGA director said, “We have been astounded by the positive response our new scheme has attracted, and it is great to see that school leavers are embracing the opportunity to choose the automotive industry as a career-choice.”

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