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MP’s licensing Bill hits Commons snag

Welsh Labour MP Chris Ruane’s Vehicle Servicing Industry (Regulation) Bill calling for the manda-tory regulation and licensing of the motor vehicle servicing industry has had a parliamentary setback.

The bill got its first reading just after Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, November 17, but the House of Commons session finished before the second reading two days later.

With the backing of the Consumers Association Which? magazine, Ruane was hoping to reintroduce the bill this week.

Which? will also lobby the Trade and Industry Select Committee to consider the issue and investigate the OFT’s consumer code approval scheme. Ruane has submitted 21 written questions on the issue to the Secretaries of State for Transport, Trade and Industry, Education and Training and the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Ruane’s speech quoted a recent Which? investigation into standards of car servicing which claimed that 73% of the work undertaken was unsatisfactory.

The MP believes the problem is as endemic in the franchised dealer workshops as in the small independent garages but also quoted an AM-online poll that found 82% supported licensing under a mandatory scheme.

Emma Harrison, senior public affairs officer at Which? says: “We want a commitment from Government to set up an independent scheme to monitor and enforce standards in garage servicing and stop people being ripped off.”

In calling for the Select Committee to consider the OFT’s existing approved codes, she describes the SMMT as “pitiful for not offering much consumer protection”.

In response, a spokesman for the SMMT says: “We met all the criteria set by the OFT and we deliver on what we promised. We encourage consumers to know what their rights are.”

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