Dangers of MOT extension all too evident

An independent garage, part of the Autocare network, has contacted the IAAF after recently welcoming a customer who was planning on delaying her MOT for a further six months, until the technicians pointed out the very dangerous condition of the vehicle’s tyres.


They were both split and perished and would not only fail an MOT and be deemed as ‘un-roadworthy’, but would also be a huge hazard to the driver and other motorists if she had waited another six months and had not had them replaced.

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has said the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA) decision to extend MOTs for a six-month period causes “huge challenges” for the sector, arguing that the industry needs to ensure vehicles continue to be kept safe in these challenging times.

The federation argues that the industry needs to ensure vehicles are running safely in these challenging times and the extension will result in a worrying number of vehicles ‘un-roadworthy’ but in operation.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, said: “We will continue to maintain a dialogue with the DVSA, calling for greater clarity around the implications of the six-month extension.”

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Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for UK businesses trading internationally

1. DIT support for UK businesses trading internationally
This advice is for UK businesses that export or deliver goods and services abroad and have been impacted by the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). It includes:

  • DIT support for UK business trading internationally
  • financial support for business trading internationally

DIT can support businesses by:

  • providing assistance with customs authorities to ensure smooth clearance of their products
  • offering advice on intellectual property and other issues with business continuity
  • British businesses that may face disruption due to the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) can visit the dedicated business support website for more information.

This team will discuss the challenges faced by UK businesses at home and overseas to understand how best the department can support them.

1.1 Supply chains affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)
If your supply chain has been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), DIT can help you to find alternative suppliers. The department has relationships with a global network of businesses across the world and will be able to advise you on the options available.

If you have an advisory or professional services firm that can help UK companies to find alternative suppliers, visit the dedicated business support website for more information.

1.2 International support for businesses involved in overseas projects
If you are operating projects in other countries, follow local guidance and speak to your nearest UK embassy or consulate. Alternatively, you can read the general advice on Overseas Business Risk in the relevant country.

2. Financial support for British businesses trading internationally
The Chancellor announced (17 March 2020) an unprecedented package of government-backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses, making available an initial £330 billion of guarantees – equivalent to 15% of GDP.

This was on top of a series of measures announced at Budget 2020, where the government announced £30 billion of additional support for public services, individuals and businesses experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19.

On 20 March 2020, the Chancellor announced a further workers’ support package to protect millions of people’s jobs and incomes as part of the national effort in response to coronavirus. A new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be set up to help pay people’s wages; Universal Credit and tax credits will also be increased as part of an almost £7 billion welfare boost; and to ease cash flow pressures for UK VAT registered businesses, VAT bills from now until the end of June, will be deferred until the end of the tax year.

On 26 March 2020 the Chancellor announced a scheme to support the self-employed through direct cash grants.

Your business may be able to get support to lessen the cost or financial effects of coronavirus (COVID-19) through:

the business interruption loan scheme from the British Business Bank as part of the Enable Finance Guarantee
changes to Statutory Sick Pay
the UK-wide Time to Pay – scheme for tax payment relief for businesses and self-employed people
an increase in the Business Rates Retail Discount in England to 100% for a year, now expanded to the leisure and hospitality sectors
cash support to all business in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) and funding for Local Authorities in England to support businesses that pay little or no business rates because of SBRR or Rural Rates Relief
the temporary lowering of the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) for Universal Credit for those who have COVID-19 or are self-isolating following government advice
cash grants of up to £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000
grants offered through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme

2.1 Financial support for exporters
UK Export Finance (UKEF) works with banks and insurance brokers to help companies of all sizes fulfil and get paid for export contracts. It provides guarantees, loans and insurance on behalf of the government that can protect UK exporters facing delayed payments or transit restrictions. Help from UKEF:

  • if your business is facing disruption due to late payments, UKEF can help ease cash flow constraints by guaranteeing bank loans through its Export Working Capital Scheme
  • if you are concerned about getting paid, UKEF offers an export insurance policy that can help you recover the costs of fulfilling an order that is terminated by events outside your control
  • UKEF can also support finance for overseas buyers through the Direct Lending Facility scheme, so they can continue to buy your goods and services

    UKEF has over £4 billion of capacity to support UK firms exporting to China, as well as significant capacity across other markets affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) to help cover these risks.

To find out if UKEF covers your region, email [email protected]

3. International business travel
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office offers the latest advice about travelling abroad, including the latest information on coronavirus (COVID-19), safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings.

4. DIT coronavirus (COVID-19) business support contacts
If you have questions on international trade and coronavirus (COVID-19) visit the dedicated business support website for more information.

There are DIT offices around the world that can offer advice to businesses specific to your region or country. Contact your local DIT office for further information.

5. Government coronavirus (COVID-19) advice and support
The government has set out a COVID-19 Action Plan to tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak based on our experience of dealing with other infectious diseases and our influenza pandemic preparedness work.

Guidance for UK employers and businesses from the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy offers information on healthcare advice for employers and support for UK businesses.

Public Health England and the Department for Health and Social Care have up-to-date information on the virus for health professionals and other organisations.

For full details CLICK HERE.

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VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium

A consortium of significant UK industrial, technology and engineering businesses from across the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors, has come together to produce medical ventilators for the UK.

The VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium (“the consortium”) is led by Dick Elsy, CEO of High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a group of manufacturing research centres in the UK.

Over the past week the consortium has been working hard to investigate production of a range of ventilator design options to meet a high-level specification for a Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator System (“RMVS”) developed by clinicians and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (“MHRA”).

The consortium has evaluated all requirements to design, manufacture, assemble and test components, as well as finished medical ventilators.

Companies in the consortium have now received formal orders from the Government in excess of 10,000 units.

The consortium will now accelerate production of an agreed new design, based on existing technologies, which can be assembled from materials and parts in current production. The device combines existing proven clinical equipment and is the clinicians’ first choice for the RMVS.

The regulator has been involved throughout and we anticipate a straightforward and very prompt regulatory sign off after the final audit.

The consortium is now working at full speed to take the necessary steps in order to increase production of this design. Production will begin this week.

The consortium also includes another producer of medical ventilators and it will provide them with additional manufacturing support and assembly facilities in order to scale up production of a second existing ventilator design which has full regulatory approval.

In response to the NHS’ requirements to treat coronavirus patients, there are a range of other projects aiming to increase ventilator production.

The VentilatorChallengeUK consortium is committed to playing its role in delivering both medical ventilator designs to the required specifications and, in conjunction with these other companies, organisations and groups, aid the delivery of additional ventilators to the NHS. The companies involved have taken many of their people from key company projects to do this and serve the national need.

Dick Elsy, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult’s chief executive, said: “This consortium brings together some of the most innovative companies in the world. Every day, their highly-skilled staff collaborate to create solutions that help millions of people, and this project is no different. They are working together with incredible determination and energy to scale up production of much-needed ventilators and combat a virus that is affecting people in many countries. I am confident this consortium has the skills and tools to make a difference and save lives.”

“Members of the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium continue to work around the clock to produce as many additional ventilators for the NHS as quickly as possible. To provide some context, Penlon and Smiths ordinarily have combined capacity for between 50 and 60 ventilators per week. However, thanks to the scale and resources of the wider consortium, we are targeting production of at least 1,500 units a week of the Penlon and Smiths models combined within a matter of weeks. Ventilators are intricate and highly complex pieces of medical equipment and it is vital that we balance the twin imperatives of speed of delivery with the absolute adherence to regulatory standards that is needed to ensure patient safety.” – Dick Elsy

We know that there is intense public interest in the work we are doing, but you will appreciate that the consortium is fully focused on this time-critical project and must prioritise the task at hand in meeting the challenge. We will try and facilitate requests for interviews when we are in a position to do so.

In the interim, we would ask that any press enquiries are directed to [email protected] rather than to the individual companies participating in the project.

We recognise that many companies and individuals with relevant expertise will be keen to help in the effort to produce more ventilators for the UK and will want to be a part of this project.

We would ask that all offers of support are registered through the Government’s web page rather than by approaching the consortium directly, and we would appreciate the media reinforcing this to enable the consortium to focus on this critical mission.

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Covid-19 and Credit Insurance

IAAF service provider, FinCred IS, have provided a summary of the impact Covid-19 is having on the credit insurance market and the response from insurers during these difficult trading conditions.

Credit insurance protects businesses if their customers do not pay their debts for goods or services due to insolvency or non-payment within the payment terms. In the current climate this could be due to the impact coronavirus has had on their business.

Due to the trade shock resulting from the lockdown that most governments globally have enforced, businesses across a huge range of sectors are seeing a slowdown in payments from customers for goods or services.

Some customers are requesting a payment break for goods or services rendered. Businesses that have sought assistance from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) are being asked to exhaust all cost reduction options to qualify for a loan, which includes requesting extended payment terms from suppliers.

Insurers have recognised these trading challenges and liquidity issues and the subsequent slowdown in payments from buyers to their policyholders. To assist insureds during this time many insurers have relaxed the policy terms around reporting overdue customers to allow policyholders greater flexibility to manage these payment delays.

The message we are receiving from insurers is positive in terms of supporting policyholders to continue to trade. Insurers are reviewing their risk exposure in certain sectors in response to significant reductions in domestic and international trade. These reviews aim to establish where credit limit cover is still being utilised and to support insureds with demand led cover requirements.

Insurers are still open for new policies and companies seeking credit insurance cover. The risk environment is challenging, but enquiries will continue to be reviewed on a case by case basis.

If you are currently insured for credit insurance risks and have any questions about how these policy changes impact your business or you wish to enquire about cover then please contact Hannah Lyon-Wall at FinCred IS on [email protected] or 01732 749754.

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Dayco steps in to help the battle against coronavirus

Dayco, a leading engine products and drive systems supplier for the automotive, industrial and aftermarket industries, has taken the opportunity to put its manufacturing resources into helping those suffering from the Covid-19 pandemic, by producing a vital component in the conversion of a readily available snorkeling mask, into a life-saving ventilator.

The adaption of the mask, normally supplied via sports outlet Decathlon, is the brain-child of the inventor supported by a project team including Italian consultancy Isinnova, eight individuals and several partners, which transforms the mask originally intended for leisure activities into a vital resource that is already being used in hospitals in northern Italy and by the Italian Red Cross.

Recognizing the value of the initiative to help save lives, Dayco has taken the opportunity to produce a key component – the Charlotte Valve – that allows the mask to be converted to a medical respiratory device, and is producing it on 3-D printers at its San Bernardo d’Ivrea facility in northern Italy.

Commenting on the development, President of Dayco Global Powertrain Operations, Michael Weiss, said: “To be able to contribute in the fight against this terrible virus was an easy decision to make as we have both the facilities and machinery required to make the Charlotte Valve in the required numbers, as well as a duty to respond to the national and international emergency.

“We are now in contact with the Ivrea and San Giovanni Bosco hospitals along with the Red Cross, to help distribute the item, which can be installed quickly and easily, and in conjunction with the reversal of the three existing valves in the face of the mask, convert it into the life-saving device.”

To download the files, CLICK HERE.

Comma conduct second poll of workshops

As the UK enters its third week of the Coronavirus restrictions on movement and social distancing, in a second poll undertaken for leading aftermarket lubricant brand, Comma, workshops revealed how they’re feeling and coping in the current situation.

The survey of workshops from across the UK found that 78% of respondents were open (Friday 3rd April) and three quarters (74%) expected to still be open ‘in a fortnight’s time’ – in contrast to just one week ago when almost half of workshops expected to remain closed.

Unexpectedly, workshop survey respondents registered a range of concerns regarding level of trade, hygiene and safety; the two biggest concerns have switched in priority with ‘level of trade’ being a bigger concern now than ‘the availability of parts’, which was workshops biggest concern just a week ago. There was a 50% rise in the number of respondents stating their belief that the MOT extension policy is bad for motorists, as well as workshops: 2/3 respondents share that view.

Other findings from the survey reveal that workshops are still keen to play their part in supporting their local communities, by remaining open for business and keeping motorists’ vehicles safe and roadworthy. Respondents continue to share the ways in which they’re helping key workers, at this critical time. Workshops are also being innovative, finding different working practices including job sharing, contactless drop off and collections as well as implementing a wide range of hygiene and social distancing measures that follow Government guidelines.

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Gates responds to challenging times by increasing digital presence

With so many workshop mechanics around the world at home right now, the true value of digital learning has never been more apparent. Gates has increased the frequency of its live webinars to help mechanics return to the workshop with even more product knowledge and a better understanding of all related technical aspects.

The following webinar dates have been scheduled for English speakers. They will be delivered by the Gates UK training specialist Jason Ford and are appropriate for repairers of light commercial vehicles, car-derived vans and passenger cars.

Coolant 24/04/20 – 10.30am, 45 mins
Hoses 07/05/20 – 10.30am, 45 mins
Water Pumps 22/05/20 – 10.30am, 45 mins

Gates webinars have become increasingly popular in recent weeks. More than 600 registered for the most recent webinar session, held in Spain. Delegates who signed up also included students from colleges and schools.

The webinars are broadcast in several languages and their length varies from 30 to 90 minutes. Questions are raised via the chat function, or asked directly at the end of each session. The format allows the flexibility to provide relevant and up to date information that can vary according to local requirements.

More webinars will be scheduled in the weeks to come. Check out Gates TechZone to get an overview of all upcoming webinars.

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GS Yuasa publish new contact numbers

New temporary contact numbers for the GS Yuasa technical helpline are detailed below.

In order to reach our technical support team for the time being, please dial any of the relevant numbers as shown below:

+44 (0) 1793 833557
+44 (0) 1793 833547
+44 (0) 1793 833559

+44 (0) 1793 833560
+44 (0) 1793 833561

For all other enquiries please use our main telephone number: +44 (0) 1793 833555

As a critical supplier we will remain open to service all requirements during the Coronavirus outbreak and continue to maintain a high level of service and availability.

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Petrol Retailers Association issues stark warning

The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) has warned that many petrol stations will have to close in the coming weeks, as sales of fuel dry up and their businesses become unviable.

This weekend’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) survey covering nearly 60% of all petrol filling stations (PFS) across the UK, including supermarkets, oil company and independent sites, showed much lower levels of fuel demand.

Petrol consumption was down by 75% and diesel by 71% as the public heeds the government’s stay-at-home instructions.

The PRA is recommending that the government must instruct fuel suppliers to give the same 60-day credit terms to independent filling stations as they give to the supermarkets.

PRA chairman Brian Madderson said: “To help freight move and help key workers travel safely and independently through this period of crisis, [PFS] must remain open, but this is proving to be a challenge for many filling stations.

“Fuel retailers are having to maintain pump prices at previous levels to avoid suffering significant stock losses. When the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted and high sales volumes return, then we expect to see reductions in retail fuel prices.

“Petrol stations are the government’s tax collectors, with duty and VAT representing 70% of the pump price. It is in their interests that we remain open for business,” he added.

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Tips on keeping a vehicle roadworthy if the MOT has been extended

Last week the government advised that due to the current situation with regard to the coronavirus, MOTs would be extended for a period of six months, with the proviso that they need to be in a roadworthy condition. The penalties for driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition remain in place, i.e., you can be fined up to £2,500, be banned from driving and get 3 penalty points for driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition.  The IAAF is still lobbying government for a review of this decision.

Checks you should carry out
Every time you drive you should check:

  • the windscreen, windows and mirrors are clean
  • all lights work
  • the brakes work

Your vehicle’s handbook will tell you how often to check the:

  • engine oil
  • water level in the radiator or expansion tank
  • brake fluid level
  • battery
  • windscreen and rear window washer bottles – top up with windscreen washer fluid if necessary
  • tyres – they must have the correct tread depth and be free of cuts and defects

The handbook will also tell you when your vehicle needs to be serviced.

Tyre tread
Tread must be a certain depth depending on the type of vehicle:

  • cars, light vans and light trailers – 1.6 millimetres (mm)
  • motorcycles, large vehicles and passenger-carrying vehicles – 1mm

There must be tread across the middle three-quarters and around the entire tyre.

The rules on vehicle safety and maintenace in the Highway Code can be found HERE.

To check the MOT status of a vehicle CLICK HERE.

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