A very angry chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts Edward Leigh has criticised the Department for Transport (DfT) for misleading the committee over the extent of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) evasion.
In January 2008 the committee stated that - according to DfT figures - the rate of evasion of duty by motorcyclists was 38%.
As a result, the committee recommended that the Department and the DVLA target motorcyclists evading payment of duty.
It also recommended that they should work with motorcycle industry bodies to reduce concern about the reliability of sampling methods used in measuring evasion by motorcyclists.
A month later, the Department published new statistics, which put the figure for motorcycle evasion at just 9.8%.
The Department's press release about the new figures made clear that a new methodology had been used in the survey, but did not refer to the difference from previous years' figures.
“On the basis of the Department's information, the committee published a report for which I later had to apologise, when the Department published new, more accurate figures.
"We expect Departments to be accurate, and when they are not sure their figures are reliable, they should say so,” said Mr Leigh this week.
“I apologise again to law-abiding motorcyclists and others offended by the figures in our original report.
"I look to the Department to make a similar apology."
A DfT spokesperson said: "The Department regrets any offence or embarrassment caused.
"However, our VED evasion estimates for the years up to 2006 were the most accurate available at the time and were published in good faith."