Talkin' about the Car Wash

Industry in a lather over RMIf's letter to PM

Published:  21 September, 2012

BRIAN Madderson, the RMI Federation's chair has written a letter to the Prime Minister over issues that threaten the business of members that own mechanical car washes.

In the letter, seen by the Daily Telegraph, Madderson calls for a ban on hand car washes that have appeared across the country, as he says they are not regulated in the same way that forecourt washes are. He also suggests that these car washes are often staffed by illegal labour.

In an interview with the Telegraph, Madderson says he eventually wants to see a restrictions on motorists washing their own vehicles.

"My members are already under threat because of falling profits they make on selling fuel and now struggling because their car wash businesses, which were a good earner, are being decimated" he said, adding: "We accept that this would be a difficult policy to sell to voters, but it should be examined".

Independent forecourt operators have been under huge pressure to get any return from petrol retailing in recent years, and fringe activities such as mechanised car washing are usually the main source of profit. However, very few people seem to share Madderson's views. The AA's Edmund King said washing your own car was a 'ritual' and a right akin to something enshrined in the Magna Carter.

The letter to the PM also dealt with issues of pricing and supply of fuels by oil companies as well as the 'unrestricted' growth of hypermarkets and the impact of 'unfair' business rates.

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