1. ITV Report

White van men and women give verdict on economy

White van men and women give verdict on economy Photo: ITV Central

That great British barometer of the economy - white van man and woman - gave their verdict on the state of UK business today.

It coincided with the launch of the UK's newest van - by Maxi-Low. It's a small firm in Leicester employing just 25 people.

They're a car body repair shop but they buy vans from Vauxhall and customise them. They take a Movano van from Vauxhall - the cab, the engine and the platform - and build a bigger compartment on the back.

They can only make five a week at the moment but that may rise to 10 or fifteen.

Today they launched the van at the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon in Warwickshire showing it off to courier firms and fleet buyers for supermarkets.

With 3.5 million white vans on the road - the market is big with couriers and small one man band operations needing a runaround.

ITV News spoke to several white van men today - they say business is sluggish but it's picking up, but it's getting harder and harder to make money as customers try to squeeze their suppliers.

Maxi Low's van is 40 per cent bigger after its modification than it is when Vauxhall build it - the selling point is that you can get more in - so in theory make more profit on whatever you're delivering because you're making fewer journeys.

It seems to be a selling point that's working. One fleet buyer alone has ordered 200. Maxi Low's workforce may rise from 25 to 35 if orders continue.