Challenges remain as we struggle to return to some normality

Undated file of a mechanic working on a car. Owners of cars due an MOT next month are being urged to

Owners of cars due an MOT next month are being urged to book early because of a surge in demand. - Credit: PA

Over the past month the number of cases of the Covid-19 virus continues to be of concern throughout Devon and Cornwall.

Retail business in July showed a surprising fall and this is being accounted for as a reluctance to return to shopping as a result of these increases.

We must be careful not to blame the virus for everything.

In July and August, many families’ thoughts were on their first holiday for some time and shopping was not top of the priority list.

Children were being sent home early from schools and the number of workers who were forced to self-isolate caused some businesses to restrict bookings and, in worst cases, close down.

Already in many industries the semi-conductor shortages were having an effect and causing delays in supply of cars, vans, domestic appliances and mobile phones, to name a few.

Shortages of other raw materials affected other products and stock levels had been run down over the last 12 months.

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Although there were redundancies during the pandemic there are now more job vacancies and either a shortage of willing workers or particular skills shortages are preventing some industries and businesses returning to full capacity.

News that the Chinese were investigating the law firm organising the float of around $309 million for BYD, the largest semi -conductor producers who were planning to use this money to increase availability, will be a further blow and will mean longer delays.

If you have a new car ordered for September delivery, check with your dealer to ensure the original build date has not been put back and find out if there are any other implications for you - such as needing to have an MOT on your current vehicle.

The used car market is still very strong and prices continue to stay high.

Many new car dealerships are looking for good used cars and will pay excellent prices, particularly where they have a customer looking for a similar car.

Premium brand product is in short supply due to the lack of new vehicles and potential buyers may have to join the waiting list.

Those of you with three-year-and older cars and vans and took the opportunity to delay your MOT until September in 2020 should have sorted their 2021 test by now, or make sure they can get a booking before their year runs out.

There will be a number of three-year old cars registered in September 2018 also coming up for an MOT in September as it was a very busy month, adding further pressure to MOT centres, so do not risk the ability to use your car.

Next week we will be in September, which was originally hoped to be the largest month of the year but it is more likely some registrations will be carried over into the latter part of 2021 as a result of the shortages.

Enjoy the bank holiday weekend with your loved ones. Stay safe and keep smiling. I look forward to next week.