Automotive component suppliers from across the West Midlands are to be updated on the latest support available to companies in the sector.
Supply chain support programme Accelerate has again joined forces with Business Link West Midlands and the region’s Manufacturing Advisory Service to stage another of its supplier forums.
Previous events in December and February were said to have given a picture of the difficulties faced by companies in the components sector and led to the creation of several new initiatives, including a series of emergency advice surgeries to give struggling businesses immediate help to access support.
The latest forum, which takes place on Wednesday at Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will provide information on how to apply for business rate relief and discuss the impact of announcements in last week’s budget, such as the new car scrappage scheme.
In addition, there will be guidance on the latest initiatives from, among others, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) and regional development agency Advantage West Midlands.
Since the event in February, BERR has launched the Automotive Assistance Programme (AAP). This can provide support to companies working on projects that either reduce carbon emissions from vehicles or in the vehicle manufacturing process.
In addition to this, AWM operates the Transition Fund, which provides loans to viable businesses ranging from £50,000 to £250,000.
Experts from Birmingham Chamber-backed Accelerate – which has been extended until the end of the year due to the unprecedented situation confronting the industry – and its partners will be on hand to explain how this and the other programmes can help businesses struggling to survive the downturn.
The newly-announced electric car subsidies and other low carbon incentives will also be discussed, while other items on the forum agenda include business rate relief and an HR overview.
There will also be an opportunity for delegates attending to share good practice, to network with other suppliers and participate in surgery-style discussions.Rachel Eade, Accelerate programme manager, said: “The pressure on the automotive industry remains as intense as ever. Escalating job losses, record production declines, the cancellation of this year’s Motor Show and the 30.5 per cent fall in new car sales in March give a clear indication of how difficult things are.
“Unfortunately there is still a level of confusion over what type of help is available and how it can be accessed so we intend to use this latest forum to outline to firms exactly what we can do to help.
“It is important that supply firms realise that help is available to them and our aim is to make sure they have all the tools at their disposal so they can access these support programmes.”
Gary Dimmock, manufacturing director for Business Link West Midlands, said it was vital all possible measures were taken to bolster the region’s automotive sector.
“The downturn in the economy has had a devastating effect on the car industry, something of which we’re all acutely aware of here in the Midlands.
“In view of this it is more important than ever that firms secure as much help as possible in order to improve their chances of survival. This is why attendance at events like this is vital,” he said.
Forum places are limited to West Midland automotive supply firms and can be booked by calling 0121 607 0123.