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MP calls for state regulation of repair sector

A Bill has today been introduced in the House of Commons calling for the mandatory regulation and licensing of the vehicle servicing industry.

Vale of Clwyd MP Chris Ruane put forward the motion as a Ten Minute Rule Bill. The aim is to raise standards and improve the safety record of the sector said to be worth an estimated £9.8 billion a year – or £350 per car on the road in the UK. The cost to car drivers of ‘shoddy’ repairs, Ruane said, was put at £170 million a year.

Ruane quoted an undercover Which? investigation of 48 repair centres standard of work on 48 cars with 'minor' faults. It revealed that 73% of the work was ‘unsatisfactory’ and 67% of the garages failed to notice the faults. He also quoted another Which? survey into standards at MoT service centres. Only eight of the 36 garages surveyed carried out a test correctly.

Ruane also said the problem of "erratic" standards appears as "endemic" in the franchised sector as it is in the independent. "Despite the efforts of the vehicle manufacturers to get their franchisees to observe these quality of standards (sic) they have failed to do so."

The case for mandatory legislation, Ruane said, was strengthened by the failure of the Good Garage or CarWise scheme, promoted by the DTI and based on self-regulation. It was shelved after failing to receive OFT approval and, he said, support in ‘industry circles’ because of the £10m set-up cost – despite this equating to 35 pence per car on the UK roads.

Ruane said regulation would have backing in the industry, citing AM-online research which showed that 82% of its readership supported licensing under a mandatory scheme.

The Bill will get its first reading on Friday.

To hear Chris Ruane's House of Commons' speech please right click and 'save target as' on one of the files below. If you have WinZip installed on your machine, the zipped option is a smaller file size and will therefore download more quickly.

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