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As the CBI, EEF, Charity Finance Group and IoD ask the UK government to delay implementation of the apprenticeship levy*, IMI CEO, Steve Nash, adds his voice to the call.
“We wholeheartedly support the need for more people to take the apprenticeship route, and with the automotive retail sector facing a severe skills shortage, especially in technical roles, apprenticeships will continue to play a crucial role in in tackling this. “
“Whilst automotive has had a very long tradition of providing quality apprenticeship opportunities for young people, particularly in the technical disciplines, we operate in a hugely varied sector and apprenticeships are not common entry routes for all of our sub-sectors. Employers in those parts of the industry need more time to consider collectively what type of apprenticeships may be appropriate and beneficial to their businesses and then have the opportunity to put the specifications together. They should not be rushed into doing this by an artificially tight timescale, especially considering that many are still unclear about the government’s wide ranging and ongoing reforms to apprenticeships.”
“As the Professional Body for the automotive industry the IMI would be delighted to engage with the government in order to help employers in our sector make apprenticeships an integral part of their wider recruitment strategy, covering a greater variety of roles than has traditionally been the case, as well as reaching into such areas as vehicle rental & leasing and fleet, for example, where there are large employers who will be subject to the levy on their payroll but for whom there are currently no suitable apprenticeships in existence or even planned.”
“At the very least, delaying the implementation of the levy will ensure that employers, who are currently more preoccupied with the potential effects of Brexit, have the time to fully understand the implications for their own businesses.”
The IMI represents the £152 billion a year retail motor industry, which currently needs at least 12,000 apprentices a year to stand still.
Car prices in Britain will rise as a result of the country’s decision to quit the European Union, the chief executive of Peugeot Citroen has predicted. Carlos Tavares said he expects overseas carmakers that export to the UK to increase their prices to claw back foreign exchange losses incurred by the falling pound. The currency is trading around 10 per cent below its pre-referendum value.
Mr Tavares estimated that every 1 per cent move in sterling against the euro costs PSA Group €30m annually. The French company is not the only carmaker grappling with the impact of Brexit. Nissan, Honda and Toyota, who manufacture in the UK, are heavily dependent on access to the European single market for much of their business.
Daimler has unveiled an electric truck capable of transporting up to 25 tonnes, putting zero-emission vehicles on a par with conventional-engine variants in terms of payload and performance. So far, the weight and cost of batteries as well as their limited power have prevented electric drives from being used to transport heavy loads. Daimler, which owns the Mercedes-Benz brand, said on Wednesday electric trucks could be production ready from the start of the next decade, thanks to major advances in battery technology. Between 1997 and 2025, battery costs are likely to fall by 60 percent, Daimler said. At the same time, the energy density of batteries, and hence their power, will increase by around 250 percent. The higher energy density of batteries has opened the door for new players to enter the truck market. Electric carmaker Tesla, for example, has said it will unveil a commercial truck next year.
British economy begins to show signs of post-Brexit slowdown
Fears that the British economy has been knocked off course by the Brexit vote have been reinforced by signs of retrenchment across key industries, according to fresh reports. The first health checks of important sectors since Britain voted to leave the European Union overshadowed growth figures, showing a stronger-than-expected performance by the UK in the run-up to the referendum. An expansion of 0.6% in the British economy between April and June was countered by signals from the construction industry, car factories and high street stores that provide the Bank of England with justification for moving to boost growth when its interest rate-setting committee meets next week.
Britain aims for pole position in self-driving cars after Brexit
Britain’s decision to quit the EU could help put Britain in pole position in developing self-driving cars that rely on internet connectivity to pilot themselves. The UK is already at an advantage over most of Europe in researching autonomous vehicles because it never ratified the Vienna Convention, which requires “every driver shall at all times be able to control his vehicle”. Now with the vote to split from the EU, that lead could be increased with Britain unfettered by European red tape, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Mike Hawes, chief executive of the society, said: “Britain is already perceived as an attractive test-bed for technologies; Brexit may make it more attractive.”
EUROPEAN UNION bureaucrats are preparing to splurge members’ cash on its next round of waste – announcing it will splash out £112million on environmentally friendly cars but just £41m researching terrorism.Despite the issues gripping Europe and the growing migrant crisis, the European Commission has announced its intention to spend FOUR TIMES more on researching and developing electric car batteries than it will on learning more about the long reach of Islamic State. The Horizon 2020 work programme, the biggest ever EU research funding project, will oversee the spend of £65bn over seven years. The aim of the programme is to fund science and innovative projects, to place Europe ahead of other world powers.
The RAC and pressure group FairFuelUK have accused retailers of cashing in on post-Brexit uncertainty and urged them to pass on savings ‘immediately’. Motoring groups want petrol prices slashed by 3p a litre amid falling oil costs. The RAC says millions of motorists are paying over the odds as oil hit a three-month low of $43 a barrel, so unleaded or diesel should drop from 112p to 109p per litre. And with wholesale prices also down month-on-month the group urged retailers to pass on savings ‘immediately’.