The retail motor industry compromises 8,000 member sites and too often the Government listens intently to the manufacturing sector, but takes scant account of the interests of retailers, this year’s Retail Motor Industry Federation annual dinner in London last night (23 October) was told.

RMI deputy chairman Peter Johnson added: “I would suggest given the importance to the economy of these 8,000 businesses, this needs to change.”

Johnson continued by outlining the issues and achievements of the federated associations – The Petrol Retailers Association, The National Franchised Dealers Association, The Independent Garage Association, The National Association of Motor Auctions, The National Motorcycle Dealers Association, and the National Association of Bodyshops.

He said: “The PRA has added 500 to its membership this year, It also directly influenced HM Treasury’s decision to extend the £1,000 discount on business rates for petrol filling stations.”

Robert Goodwill MP, under-secretary of state for transport, was the guest speaker at the dinner. He said the motor industry has been at the forefront of bringing down unemployment figures, adding: “It had the best September for 10 years, selling 426,000 vehicles; we’ve had 31 months of continuous growth in terms of the vehicle sector, and already in 2014 you’ve sold two million vehicles, an increase of 9.1%; and in terms of the value of UK cars exported, that has doubled in the past decade .”

He said the government was supporting motorists with £24bn investment in improving, roads, putting extra lanes on motorways by taking away the hard shoulders, making roads safer, and giving local authorities just over £1bn a year to mend potholes.