HC Deb 09 February 1977 vol 925 cc1421-2
13. Mr. Spence

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received about written-off motor vehicles being put back on to the roads.

Mr. Horam

Views have been received from various sources, including certain bodies representing the motor trade, road users and consumers. It has been urged that vehicles that have been repaired after write-off should be tested before being allowed on the road again.

Mr. Spence

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that that is an extraordinarily complacent answer to this important matter? Will he undertake now to act with urgency in an effective way, so that the public may be assured and reassured that the Minister is on top of the job with regard to road safety and the public interest?

Mr. Horam

I assure the hon. Gentleman that the Department of Transport is absolutely on top of the job with regard to road safety. I take this problem as seriously as it should be taken. The hon. Gentleman will know, as the matter has been discussed at length, that we have always sought clear evidence on the extent of the problem. That is what we are looking for now. On Monday I received a deputation from the hon. Members for Sutton Coldfield (Mr. Fowler) and Essex, South-East (Sir B. Braine), and they gave me further evidence. As I undertook then, I shall certainly look into it.

Mr. Norman Fowler

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that both the motoring and consumer organisations support action to prevent these patched-up insurance write-off cars going back on to the roads? Is he also aware that the overwhelming feeling of those organisations is that the Government are dragging their feet on the issue? Cannot the Government, even now, say that they will institute a survey to find out how serious this problem is throughout the country?

Mr. Horam

The hon. Gentlemam must know, unless he has an extremely short memory, that that was the undertaking that I gave on Monday. I said then that we would look at any evidence that was brought forward. So far, after many years of intensive research, including a working party lasting three years, with which my Department and all the interested bodies co-operated, we have not come across any evidence to suggest that this is a major problem. None the less, in view of the real concern, which I understand, we shall continue to study the problem.

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