When the Transport Select Committee pushed the Government in the right direction over VW
In April 2017, MPs discussed the third report produced by the Transport Select Committee and the government’s response.
Following on from the lack of action from Volkswagen (VW) in the U.K., MPs Louise Ellman and David T. C. Davies raised questions to minister John Hayes as to why compensation had not been offered to VW’s customers in the U.K., as well as other questions regarding air pollution and the Government’s plan to tackle the issues.
Here’s a reminder of what went on…
A lack of consistency from VW pointed out
From the get go, Mrs Ellman was persistent in pointing out the dramatic change in attitude from VW UK boss, Paul Willis. Previously, there have been three different meetings between the TSC and Mr Willis, and Mrs Ellman noted that throughout the first meeting Mr Willis was apologetic, yet during the most recent meeting he was in denial that VW had done anything wrong.
Mrs Ellman suggested that she suspected this was because VW felt they had gotten away with their wrong-doings and would not be challenged any further. Most importantly, MPs raised questions to the minister as to why billions in settlements have been made in the U.S. and VW haven’t lifted a finger here in the U.K. to compensate vehicle owners.
U.K. customers should not go empty handed
Mr Willis previously implied that the so-called “defeat devices” weren’t actually illegal here in the U.K., according to EU regulations. However, Mr Hayes went on to say:
“We do not consider that any of the exceptions to the prohibition of the devices apply here and that VW hasn’t established any justification for this device. There will be no get out of jail free card. VW must therefore face appropriate consequences for defeating tests.”
When questioned about a timescale in which the public may expect to receive compensation, Mr Hayes began to discuss the then-upcoming general election which he suggested limits what ministers could have done and said:
“We have to be cautious in setting out an immediate timetable in light of the events that are going to take place in the coming weeks. But I will press very hard to my officials to make sure there is no hesitation or undue delay.”
Let’s not forget the air pollution…
It’s crucial not to forget the environmental impact the affected vehicles have had. MPs discussed that although there are improvements in air quality, there are some parts of the country that are in a state of air quality crisis, “choking some of our towns and cities.”
As VW have already reimbursed the UK government with £1.1m which was spent on further emissions tests in light of the scandal, Mrs Ellman implied that this surely means VW are taking ownership for their errors. Yet despite this, they’re still failing to compensate drivers here in the U.K.
MPs also debated the discrepancies between lab and on-road testing. They said: “It is hard not to conclude that the discrepancies between the lab tests and real-world driving tests should have been made clearer much earlier” and that “there has been a dragging of heels in facing up to this matter”.
From this, they’ve said that all tests going forward should take place in real-life driving scenarios.
Results may be sooner than we think
MPs recognised what many of us are thinking; that VW’s actions “did not just undermine trust in the VW Company, but in the whole automotive industry”.
Mr Hayes assured that: “We need a fair outcome for those pursuing compensation, I have met with law firms pursuing action on behalf of affected customers and I am now actively considering ways to optimise those firm’s chances of their claims succeeding.”
He said he “encourages the owners to consider the actions those legal firms are taking and consider whether it is right for them to join.”
You know where we are – to join our action, get in touch now.
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