Plans to relax the frequency of MOT tests to help ease the cost-of-living crisis have met strong criticism from across the motor industry.
The UK Alliance for the Freedom of Car Repair (UK AFCAR), which is made up of trade associations and commercial organisations who share common concerns about the UK Aftermarket, has called on the UK government to shelve any such proposals that reduce road safety and lead to an actual increase in car repair and maintenance costs.
Mark Field, chief executive at the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) and chairman of UK AFCAR said: “Each time the MOT test frequency has been called into question, it has been proven beyond doubt that extending the test frequency would actually mean an increase in repair costs for drivers, insurance premiums and harmful emissions, as well as reducing road safety as there will be an increase in defective vehicles on UK roads.
“It would also be a significant blow to thousands of independent garages and the entire automotive supply chain, who were able to remain open throughout the coronavirus pandemic, ensuring the safe and affordable mobility of essential workers and members of the public.”
DVSA data shows that one in vehicles presented for an MOT test fail and 30 per cent of those fail on brakes, a safety critical component.
The Independent Garage Association (IGA) warns that the “dangerous” plan would fail to save motorists any money long-term and would actually increase costs long-term.
Stuart James, IGA chief executive said: “In our opinion this whole plan is dangerous, unwanted and unreasonable.
“This proposal has been scrutinised at least four times that I have known of in the last 15 years, and every time it has been deemed detrimental to road safety.
“It is a fact that in times of economic hardship, motorists cut back on servicing their cars and it is the annual MOT that has kept the UK’s road safety at high levels thanks to the vital safety checks it carries out.
“Saving the cost of an MOT biennially is not worth the price of national road safety.”
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps suggested relaxing the frequency of MOTs to every two years, rather than one after Boris Johnson instructed ministers to suggest policies to ease the cost of living crisis.
The Prime Minister used a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday to brainstorm ideas with his ministers, producing a raft of blue sky proposals that will now be considered by a cost of living committee that he will chair.
Hayley Pells, owner of Avia Autos and IAAF garage section head said: “It is surprising, given the decision to end the six-month extension during the pandemic prematurely, when it was actively demonstrated how important this cost-effective check is to road safety, that this VAT-free inspection is considered as poor value for money.
“In order to maintain the legal obligation of the motorist for road worthiness, the only option would be a VAT-applied solution.
“I question if this is of better value to the motorist and have concerns regarding the safety of more vulnerable road users.”
RAC head of policy Nicholas Lyes said: “The purpose of an MOT is to ensure vehicles meet a basic level of safety for driving on our roads.
“Shifting it from annually to every two years would see a dramatic increase in the number of unroadworthy vehicles and could make our roads far less safe.”
It comes as Northern Ireland takes “the next steps” on a move to a biennial (every two years) MOT testing after a recent Call for Evidence saw some 85 per cent of individual respondents vote in favour of an introduction of biennial testing.
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