The Government has announced that it has dropped plans to reduce the testing frequency for MOTs, the day after Pro-MOTe suggested proposals to end annual MOTs would put at risk up to 50,000 jobs in the retail motor trade.
In a written ministerial statement this morning, Transport Secretary Justine Greening, said: “Having listened closely to the very many views put forward and considered the available evidence, I have decided that I am not going to carry out further work in relation to relaxing the first test date or the frequency of testing.”
In its report – ‘An MOT system that works’ - Pro-MOTe suggested that almost 150,000 people are employed in the UK as a direct result of MOT testing with 105,000 jobs in 21,000 testing stations and a further 42,000 in tyre and parts businesses.
In addition, the retail motor industry employs a higher proportion of skilled workers (38%) compared to the UK as a whole (11%), and a higher proportion of 17 to 24 year-olds with more than 14,000 apprenticeships starting in 2009/10.
Meanwhile, MOT-related activity within the retail motor trade is valued at £2.35 billion. Replacing the current 3-1-1 MOT regime in which cars and vans are tested at three years and every year thereafter to a 4-2-2 system in place in most of the rest of the EU would reduce income from fees and repair work by £1.06 billion.
It concluded that a reduction of trade in such a labour-intensive industry would put between 25,000 and 40,000 MOT tester jobs at risk with a further 8,000 jobs in related activity vulnerable too.
The Pro-MOTe report followed its earlier studies that found that reducing MOT frequency would risk causing up to 250 more deaths every year on UK roads and would cost the motorist an additional £57 a year.
Bill Duffy, Pro-MOTe’s co-ordinator, said: “Reducing the frequency of MOTs would have been dangerous, expensive and unwanted, and we welcome the Government’s sensible decision today to drop the idea.
“The proposal to reduce MOT frequency was opposed by organisations across the board, from industry to road safety campaigners to insurance companies and others. Their support for Pro-MOTe and its objective was a major factor in persuading Ministers that the maintenance of annual MOTs was the right way forward.
“We look forward to working with Government on how to make the MOT test better and to ensure consumers receive the best customer service.”
However, data from Department for Transport executive agency VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency) shows that more than a quarter (27.7%) of vehicles tested in 2010-2011 had one or more car defects that were either missed by MOT test centres or incorrectly assessed.
The VOSA data also showed that the roadworthiness of one-in-eight cars (12.4%) was being incorrectly assessed by MOT test centres.
As a result, the Government has also announced it will work with industry, motoring organisations and consumer groups to focus on the reliability and standards of garages.
The Government has decided to:
· Retain the existing rules on MOT test frequency since the evidence shows that vehicle defects are being missed and roadworthiness mis-assessed.
· Shine a light on the performance of MOT testing stations by releasing hitherto unpublished VOSA survey data on whether the sector is complying with test standards. This is published today.
· Work with motoring organisations to find out what problems motorists experience and enable them to share examples of good customer service – in particular to find ways to make it easier for customers to give feedback on their experiences of garages in a way that others can see – potentially in the manner of existing online hotel and restaurant review websites.
· Encourage the take up of industry codes of practice – and expand them to include MOT testing – so that customers can find garages signed up to schemes delivering the highest standards and take action if they have not received the service they expect.
· Help motorists to spot “clocked” second hand vehicles, by changing MOT certificates so that they carry the last three years’ mileage information as well as the mileage on the day of the test, and encourage car buyers to check full MOT histories using the online MOT database.
· Arrange “mystery shopper” tests to help improve performance in addition to those already carried out by VOSA.