HL Deb 07 December 1987 vol 491 cc1-3
Baroness Fisher of Rednal

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the law regarding the sale of unroadworthy vehicles is adequately enforced.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Lord Brabazon of Tara)

My Lords, the law is enforced by the trading standards departments of local authorities. Many successful prosecutions have been brought. The trading standards' representative bodies have suggested changing the law to allow better enforcement. Next week Ministers from the Department of Transport and the Department of Trade and Industry will meet the Director General of Fair Trading to discuss, among other things, the sale of unroadworthy vehicles and components.

Baroness Fisher of Rednal

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for that very informative Answer. One hopes that some good will come from it. At that meeting will the Minister consider the power for inspection which the trading standards body has regarding the entry of trade premises? The noble Lord will be aware that at present it is prohibited under the Trade Descriptions Act from entering premises. Will the Minister take that into consideration at the meeting next week?

Lord Brabazon of Tara

My Lords, Ministers will discuss this with the Director General of Fair Trading. I would not wish to anticipate the outcome of those discussions now, but it will be one of the items on the agenda.

Lord Renton

My Lords, in addition to the criminal sanctions to which my noble friend has referred, is he aware that there are civil remedies? I wonder whether he can say anything about the extent to which they are now considered to be defective.

Lord Brabazon of Tara

My Lords, I am afraid that information on civil remedies is not available to me at the moment. Perhaps I may look into that matter and write to my noble friend.

Lord Underhill

My Lords, the information Which the Minister has given is most encouraging. Are the local authority associations being brought into these discussions because they will be vitally affected by the views of their trading standards officers? I know that the Society of Motor Traders is very worried about this; will it also be brought into the discussions?

Lord Brabazon of Tara

My Lords, these discussions result from a symposium held in March of this year, which included representatives from local authorities and the motor trades organisations. They resolved to make a joint approach to Government to see what could be done. The meeting next week is the result of those discussions.

Lord John-Mackie

My Lords, would it be possible for every car involved in an accident to be registered and not be allowed on the road again until it was MOT'd?

Lord Brabazon of Tara

My Lords, I am not sure that we can go quite so far as that with every car involved in an accident. We are aware of the public concern about cars which have been written off by their insurance companies. That is something which a working party of police, insurers and the DVLC is considering. We hope that it will report carefully and very soon.

Lord Newall

My Lords, will my noble friend consider having the mileage registered in the normal vehicle document (which used to be a registration book) so that one can tell how many miles the vehicle has done?

Lord Brabazon of Tara

My Lords, it has been suggested that mileages should be notified to the DVLC on application for a road fund licence and on the transfer of vehicles. It has also been suggested that a central record of mileages should be kept. This would be expensive to administer but we are considering it.

Lady Kinloss

My Lords, will the Minister agree that the chassis plate should be on the rear and the front of the vehicle with the number engraved and not stamped on as is the case at present? In those circumstances no one would he able to join two halves of different vehicles together after they have been written off.

Lord Brabazon of Tara

My Lords, that is an interesting suggestion from the noble Lady and it is one which I shall draw to the attention of my right honourable friend.

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