Plans to ease the pressure on UK motorists are being announced today by the government. The move is part of a response to claims that the benefits of the UK’s slow economic recovery are not being felt by the nations vehicle owners. The package, which will be rolled out next year, was finalised by Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary. Read on for our recap of the package and its benefits.
UK Motoring Savings Package
As part of the package ministers want to enact a freeze in MOT charges. The maximum price garages will be able to charge is going to be set at £54.85 starting next year. This will be frozen until 2015. At one point ministers were toying with the idea of increasing the maximum by £4 but this has now been scrapped.
Another aspect of the package is a proposed scheme to reduce the highly inflated motorway fuel prices that motorists are currently stung with. As part of this plan signs will be erected at the sides of motorways that clearly show fuel prices to drivers. This will then allow road users to make a far more informed decision about where they can get the best value for their money.
This has partly come in response to Office of Fair Trading (OFT) findings that revealed how unleaded petrol was, on average, 7.5p more expensive per litre on motorway forecourts than elsewhere. This works out as an extra £6 per fuel stop if you were filling up one of the brand new BMW M5‘s! The move will begin piloting across the country next year. This move, combined with you following our eco driving tips, could result in a substantial saving on your fuel bill.
Of the changes that are being proposed one of the most substantial is a new effort to uncover fake whiplash claims. This will also be launched next year in an effort to combat the growing ‘compensation culture’ amongst motorists. The UK has a whiplash claim rate far higher than the rest of Europe, these claims cost insurance companies more than £2 billion a year. As part of the move claimants will be reviewed by independent medical panels rather than GPs or doctors that are employed by insurance companies as is currently practised. These claims are inflating already substantial insurance prices, therefore it is hoped that these measures will result in a drop in insurance premiums, not a boost in insurance companies profits.
Thankfully, reduction in insurance costs have already begun with insurance premiums seeing their biggest annual drop since records began in the third quarter of this year. The AA British Insurance Premium Index has revealed that, on average, quotes for comprehensive cover fell by 12.4% in the 12 months leading up to September the 30th.
Learner drivers will also benefit from changes with current driving test prices, of £31 for the theory and £62 for the practical, being reviewed. Robert Goodwill, the Roads Minister, also stated that the provisional licence cost of £50 would be revisited.
Parking Fee Transparency
Alongside these measures the Commons Transport Select Committee has today called for local authorities to publish information about how much money they raise from parking charges and also how they spend it. The panel reported that “there is a deep-rooted public perception that parking enforcement is used as a cash cow.” We don’t feel that this opinion is unfounded at all after recent revelations such as the fact that councils were on track to make £635 million in profit from parking charges and fines in this year alone!
There is no doubt that these changes will be welcomed by financially squeezed motorists nationwide but the question of whether the government is really doing enough still remains. What do you think? Are there other changes that the government could action that would improve your motoring experience, and lower your motoring costs, further?
Written by Ryan Hill
Featured Image Att: Highways Agency
Petrol Station Image Att: Daniel Oines
Neck X-Ray Image Att: gothopotam