The comments came after a meeting with the Confederation of British Industry.
Brown welcomed a Treasury report calling for the scrapping of 'gold plating' of European Union directives in areas such as MoT tests, where UK law goes much further than EU requirements.
The Independent Garage Association (IGA), part of the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF), marked the comments as ‘disastrous for MoT testing stations’.
“Gordon Brown’s recent suggestion that the annual MoT test is little more than “red tape”, and may be changed to once every two years, is seriously misguided,’ said Ray Holloway, director of the IGA.
In the UK cars must be tested at the end of their third year, then yearly after that.
Holloway said: “The UK has one of the best road safety records in Europe, thanks to the annual MoT test for older vehicles. Newer vehicles require similar attention in order to maintain safe standards: in fact, Government figures state that around 18% of them fail their first MoT test after three years. With the current annual test comfortably in place, the MoT failure rate is over 30%: that’s almost eight million defective vehicles detected because they must go through this rigorous procedure. Imagine, around 50% of all vehicles could be unfit for road use if only tested every two years!
“The Treasury may even pick up a sizeable cost as this two-year proposal would be utterly disastrous for technicians employed as MoT testers. The business owners at the sharp end - many of them SMEs in rural areas - would lose vital income and may not survive. What supportive message is this sending out to a UK economy already groaning under Government interference?”
The IGA is in discussion with the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency and the Department for Transport on the implications of a possible change for consumers and the MoT testing sector.
Treasury sources said: “We are going to proceed carefully so as not to impact badly on safety or on the livelihood of garages.”