Peter Vosper, chairman of the Vospers Group, writes for the Torbay Weekly
So far, Devon and Cornwall have done well in limiting the number of coronavirus cases and deaths but, as cases rise in the UK and the holiday season brings more people to the area, new Government rules put further restrictions on us all.
Furthermore, we have seen incredible acts of help and kindness from many people to make life more bearable for those with specific issues and we remain optimistic that a vaccine will become available in 2021.
Looking after ourselves, our family and friends, and those who are vulnerable, will become more important as we approach the winter months when the opportunity to get out in the fresh air and enjoy outdoor activities reduces.
We need to stay vigilant and follow the rules no matter how frustrating they are for many young people and how difficult it is for those who are lonely and miss seeing their families on a regular basis.
Our cars have become even more necessary in this situation and will continue to play a major part in contact with other people and the environment.
Our purchases of vital supplies need commercial vehicles to deliver these to hospitals, shops, restaurants and even our homes.
The day of the ‘man in a white van’ has certainly never been evident.
All this is happening at a time where the world is attempting to reduce emissions to protect the long-term environment and change vehicles from combustion to electric powered within a relatively short space of time.
The public are concerned about the push for this, and 50 per cent would like the date in the UK to achieve this, 2035, to be put back.
I believe most of us are prepared to make changes but are naturally reluctant to add cost and inconvenience to their lives, particularly when there is uncertainty about the economy and potential redundancies.
The economy has certainly bounced back and many industries and retail businesses have found consumers returning to levels approaching, or in some cases exceeding, pre-lockdown levels.
This Government has contributed greatly to this at substantial cost and some further assistance will be needed at the November budget if we are to protect jobs and keep the UK sliding back into recession.
The motor industry has challenges other than the move to electric with new trade deals being concluded with Japan and the details of Brexit still to be resolved.
Some optimism must come from the rise in the share of cars with some electrical power option, which reached 27 per cent in August and is running at 23 per cent year to date.
Admittedly, much has come from the mild and plug in hybrids which are now available in many of our most popular new cars and shows how the consumer is prepared to balance life by avoiding the issue of inconvenience and accepting some small addition in initial cost which in many cases can be recovered by improved economy.
So when you visit your local dealer to update your vehicle to the new 70 registration plate this month why not ask for a test drive in a mild hybrid and maybe contribute to cleaning up the environment and benefitting us all?
I look forward to next week.