Ace Rent a Van

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Ace Rent a Van's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Ace Rent a Van is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Director Louis Verrico
Family-run since 1954
Ace Rent A Van is a third-generation, family-run business
that provides van hire services in London from its
branches in New Cross and Croydon. The family of
Director Louis Verrico has been on the site in New Cross since
1954 and understand the value of community and the needs
of local people. Louis tells
The Parliamentary Review
about the successful model and expands on how the ultra-low
emissions zone will impact small businesses.
We are proud to be a family business that has served our local community for 65
years. Our services are built on great value and customer service, and at both of our
branches we have access to a fleet of over 100 vehicles that can be hired without
a deposit. The majority of our vans are around three to five years old and are ready
for whatever our client may need.
By offering high-quality vehicles at low prices, we have forged a valuable niche
within the market that has allowed us to attract a range of clients. A number of
our competitors charge large deposits for brand-new vehicles, but this simply isn’t
feasible for small businesses and sole traders. Instead, we simply charge for the hire
of the vehicle and as a result our customers keep coming back. In recent years the
business has gone from strength to strength and this allowed us to open a second
branch in Croydon in 2018.
Understanding the needs of local business
While the hire business has been in the family for a long time, it was previously
more of a side venture, with the primary focus being on used car sales. The car sales
»Director: Louis Verrico
»Founded in 2008
»Based in New Cross and
»Services: Van rental
»No of employees: Ten
Ace Rent a Van
Highlighting best practice
business became untenable after the
ultra-low emission zone announcement,
as although people had been
encouraged to buy diesel cars a few
years earlier, the same vehicles are now
penalised. Our work in used car sales
gave us an insight into the demands
of the rental market. The prohibitive
nature of deposit and insurance costs
for small business was clear, so it was
also obvious that the demand would
exist for an affordablealternative.
We applied our experience and
knowledge gained from working
in the field and began to offer our
services to small, local businesses
that don’t have large resources. The
area in which we operate is also in a
state of constant change, with new
people moving in and out of the area
regularly. Therefore, we have a flow
of new businesses approaching us and
using our services. The fact that we are
a family business with longstanding
roots in the area is another appealing
factor to local people who feel they
can trust us and know we understand
the environment in which they
Each of our clients is valued highly by
our staff and we ensure that everyone
is treated fairly and equally. We truly
care about supporting local people
who may not have a lot of money but
who play a vital role in the community.
Having lived and worked in the area
for a long time, we understand the
area and its needs. Our staff have a
deep understanding of our purpose
and will often go the extra mile to
provide outstanding customer service
that makes our services as hassle-free
as possible for our customers.
The ultra-low emissions zone
With the consultation for the ultra-low
emissions zone having been published
in June 2018, its introduction is going
to prove a huge challenge for our
business and for others that work in
central London. The new regulations
mean that anyone travelling into
London with vehicles that don’t meet
the ULEZ emissions standards will have
to pay a charge of £12.50 per day.
While we agree that action needs to
be taken to tackle air pollution, the
roll-out and consultation process of
Ace have two centres in
New Cross and Croydon
While we
agree that
action needs
to be taken to
tackle air
pollution, the
roll-out and
process of this
policy, in
particular, has
let down small
this policy, in particular, has let down
small businesses.
The announcement has already
destroyed our used car business, as
most models older than 2015 will not
meet the new standards. Therefore,
the demand for used cars in London
plummeted overnight. Following the
full implementation of the policy in
April this year, we now face a similar
challenge with our van hire business. In
my experience, every Mayor of London
has wanted to leave their own mark on
the city, and in Sadiq Khan’s case, it is
the ultra-low emissions zone. While his
intentions are good, the impact had
not been properly planned for.
Since it was announced, it has been
rushed through without a thorough
consultation process. We have signed
a petition calling for a delay so that
businesses can adapt, and this reached
the threshold for a reply quickly. The
response simply stated that they had
run a consultation and that it had
record responses. As someone working
within the sector that will be most
affected, I don’t know anyone that
was consulted, therefore there are
many who haven’t been able to have
their concerns heard or addressed. It
is said that only 37,500 people were
consulted, and this is just not enough
in a city of nine million people and
three million drivers. Consultations
are only indicative when they indicate
the opinions of those that will actually
To make matters worse, the awareness
campaign only began six months before
it was fully rolled out, which isn’t
enough time to replace an entire fleet
of vehicles. Despite investing £700,000
in the cleanest vehicles available
during 2016, I will now be expected
to replace my fleet with vehicles that
meet the standards. Furthermore, we
had just expanded when the plans
were announced, and were then given
less than 18 months to prepare.
Businesses are now panic buying and
selling vehicles and therefore the
new vans that meet the standards
have inflated prices. The value of our
vans has fallen from £700,000 to
£450,000 in under two years and this
is a loss we simply can’t afford. To
purchase 12 of the new vehicles will
cost £250,000, which is a dramatic
increase on what we are accustomed
to, while many other businesses
will be tied in to long-term finance
agreements for vehicles that are now
essentially worthless.
Finally, the scrappage scheme is not
fit for purpose. It offers nowhere
near proper compensation and it will
not be used. Instead, businesses will
sell vehicles to buyers in other cities,
therefore spreading the problem.
Someone needs to act and come up
with a policy that works for business,
because otherwise the local authority
will have been responsible for the
demise of longstanding, local, family-
run businesses. The onus should have
been on the manufacturers in the past,
but instead, hard-working taxpayers
are picking up the bill.
To make
worse, the
campaign only
began six
months before
it was fully
rolled out,
which isn’t
enough time
to replace an
entire fleet of
Modern office facilities

This article was sponsored by Ace Rent a Van. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster