Plea for MOT Privatisation
A long-running civil strike in Northern Ireland, that began earlier this year, has had a “devastating effect on the industry,” say market representatives. The dispute has had adverse affects on the operations of the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency Northern Ireland (DVTA) which handles all MOTs and HGV tests and there is call to privatise all vehicle testing.
“Following the recent long-running civil service strike in Northern Ireland, it is crucial that vehicle testing in Northern Ireland is privatised as a matter of extreme urgency,” said Matthew Carrington, chief executive of the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI), speaking at the RMI’s Northern Ireland dinner on 11 November 2004.
According to the RMI the strike has resulted in almost 120,000 driver and vehicle tests being cancelled and many small businesses in the haulage and driver industry sector verging on bankruptcy.
Mr Carrington added: “This is now the time when government must take notice, with privatisation of vehicle testing either coming into line with Great Britain and allowing garages to carry out MOTs, or by franchising out the existing vehicle test centres to private operators, which in turn would allow choice for the consumer and competition between the test centres.
“As Winston Churchill said – ‘Give us the tools, and we will finish the job!’”
The chief executive also called for the Northern Ireland MOT test to be brought into line with Great Britain regarding MOT re-tests. He added: “In Great Britain, free re-tests of failed cars are available within 24 hours where the items causing the failure are of a minor nature, such as a blown light bulb, a number plate, exhaust emissions or a poor fitting fuel filler cap.
“The Northern Ireland re-test fee of £17 for a car is a money spinner for the DVTA, and having to wait a number of weeks for a re-test does not provide a good ‘consumer service.’”
He concluded his speech by stating: “I sincerely hope that politicians and civil servants will address these issues now.”