This year’s Queen’s Speech comes in the wake of Brexit fears, which are playing a key part in increasing dealer pessimism, with most believing profits will drop or remain flat this year.
The recent MHA 2017 Motor Dealer Survey shows that profitability is also under pressure from issues of consumer confidence, potential changes in purchasing habits resulting from concerns around possible diesel scrappage, the recent media and FCA attention on potential personal contract purchase (PCP) mis-selling and the likelihood of continued reductions in retail registration numbers.
So what was in the Queen’s speech that impacts the Motor sector?
Steve Freeman, Head of the MHA Motor sector and Nigel Morris, Tax Director at MHA MacIntyre Hudson have highlighted the measures likely to matter most to the sector.
- Repeal Bill – This measure will repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and convert EU law into UK law. The UK Parliament (and where appropriate, the devolved legislatures) will then be free to make any future changes to its laws.
- Customs Bill – The bill will ensure:
- the UK has a standalone UK customs regime on exit;
- flexibility to accommodate future trade agreements with the EU and others;
- changes can be made to the UK’s VAT and excise regimes on exit from the EU, whatever the outcome of negotiations;
- the government can collect payments of customs duties, administer the customs regime and tackle duty evasion;
- control over the import and export of goods.
- Trade Bill – this puts in place a legal framework to allow Britain to strike free trade deals with countries around the world while ensuring domestic businesses are protected from unfair trading practices.
- Immigration Bill – this enables the government to end the free movement of EU nationals into the UK, but still allows the country to attract “the brightest and the best”. Also, EU nationals and their families will be “subject to relevant UK law”.
- Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill for England, Wales and Scotland will:
- extend compulsory motor vehicle insurance to cover the use of automated vehicles, to ensure compensation claims continue to be paid quickly, fairly and easily, in line with longstanding insurance practice;
- allows the government to require the installation of charge points for electric vehicles at motorway service areas and large fuel retailers, and to require a set of common technical and operational standards. This will ensure charge points are convenient to access and work seamlessly right across the UK.
National Insurance Contributions Bill
- It legislates for the National Insurance contribution (NICs) changes announced in the 2016 Budget and 2016 Autumn Statement.
- It makes the NICs system fairer and simpler.
- It does not relate to the discussion of Class 4 contributions at the time of the Spring Budget 2017.
Civil Liability Bill
- This cracks down on fraudulent whiplash claims and is expected to reduce motor insurance premiums by about £35 per year.
- It ensures a fair, transparent and proportionate system of compensation is in place for damages paid to genuinely injured personal injury claimants.
- It ensures full and fair compensation is paid to genuinely injured claimants.
- It applies to England and Wales.
Good Mortgages Bill
- This repeals the Victorian-era Bills of Sale Acts and replaces them with a Good Mortgages Act that enables individuals to use their existing goods (such as a vehicle) as security for a loan, while retaining possession of the goods.
- It increases protection for borrowers who get into financial difficulties, by introducing a new requirement for a lender to obtain a court order before seizing goods where a borrower has made significant repayments.
- It helps borrowers in financial difficulties by giving borrowers the right to voluntary termination by handing over their vehicle or other goods to the lender.
- It provides protection for innocent third parties who buy a vehicle subject to a logbook loan that may be at risk of repossession, and makes clearer that borrowers who knowingly sell goods with a logbook loan attached could be committing fraud.
- The legislative programme will also include three finance bills to implement Budget decisions, a technical bill to ratify several “minor EU agreements” and further bills to affect the UK’s exit from the bloc.
Steve Freeman commented: “There is a lot in this Queen’s speech, which if it get’s through Parliament, will impact Motor Dealers either directly or indirectly. Brexit uncertainty that has an impact on the economy and adds to uncertainty could be bad for business”.
In addition, Nigel Morris went on to say: “There is also more to come with three more Finance Bills to pick up some or all of the ‘dropped’ items from the proposed Finance Act 2017. This could also mean more unwelcome news on taxation too”.
If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in more detail or you would like to speak with a member of our team, please contact Hannah Farmborough or call on 0207 429 4147 to be put in contact with a member of our Motor team.