Drivers warned of ‘staffing levels’ at MOT garages ahead of ‘challenging’ year

Martin Lewis reveals how to get a 'really cheap' MOT test

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New research has found that two-thirds of garages and workshops had difficulty when looking to recruit mechanics and MOT testers. It is estimated that around seven million MOT tests took place in September and October as garages struggled to keep up with consumer demand.

Motorists were given a six-month extension to MOTs which were due between March 30 and July 31, 2020, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

During this time, 5.3 million less tests took place, compared to the same period in 2019.

Because of this, drivers began to re-book the postponed tests from September 2020 onwards.

The AA referred to that time as “super September” over expectations that millions would rush to garages to get their car evaluated.

In addition to recruitment, 50 percent of study participants stated that employees testing positive for Covid, or having to self-isolate, had disrupted their business activities over the course of the past 12 months. 

Similarly, a lack of personnel to accommodate the new peaks in MOT volumes, brought about by the introduction of the six-month exemption in 2020 in response to the pandemic.

This was cited by 44 percent of respondents as being another knock-on effect of having a smaller than desired workforce last year.

Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman and Managing Director of The Motor Ombudsman, commented on the results from the poll.

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He said: “Our latest research has provided a unique insight into the main headwinds that are being faced by some of our accredited service and repair businesses across the country.

“The results of the study clearly show that staffing levels and a limited pool of qualified technicians to recruit from have taken centre stage, with there being little sign that this will change in the near future according to the garages and workshops polled.

“As we look ahead, 2022 will see businesses having to continue to contend with challenges brought about by COVID-19 and the trading environment witnessed in 2021.

“Whilst the increasing use of electric vehicles on UK roads will also demand both expenditure and expertise to be able to accommodate them for servicing and repair work.

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