Fleet News

Fleet insult as WI gains Motorists' Forum place

DEPUTY Prime Minister John Prescott believes the Women's Institute knows more about cars than the fleet industry. This week, the Motorists' Forum was launched to give motorists a voice in Government, but fleets' worst fears have been confirmed since the industry will have no direct representation.

Its membership includes the RAC Foundation, the AA, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, and even the National Federation of Women's Institutes to 'represent the female motorist' - but the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing and Association and the Association of Car Fleet Operators have been shut out. Norman Donkin, director-general of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, said: 'The decision to exclude an organisation that represents two million drivers is nonsense.' The WI has 260,000 members.

Stewart Whyte, director of the Association of Car Fleet Operators, said: 'This seems to indicate yet again that the Government does not understand the role of the fleet industry in achieving its goals. It also means the Government has gone back on a promise to ensure fleets will be properly represented.' In January Transport Minister Lord Whitty had expressed confidence that ACFO would be on the forum the creation of which was first announced by Prescott in September.

But Sir Trevor Chinn, chairman of Lex Service and of the new forum, said: 'The Confederation of British Industry, the AA and RAC are members and together with my knowledge that is enough to represent the fleet industry.' He also insisted the BVRLA and ACFO will be consulted on specific issues the forum will be considering in the next year.

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