The Transport Select Committee pushes Government in the right direction
In April, 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.
A lack of consistency from VW
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. However, during the most recent meeting he was in denial that VW had done anything wrong.
Mrs Ellman said she suspected this was because VW felt they had gotten away with their wrong-doings and would not be challenged any further.
Most importantly the MPs raised questions to the minister as to why a near $15 billion settlement has been made in the U.S. but VW haven’t lifted a finger here in the U.K. to compensate vehicle owners.
U.K. customers won’t 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 upcoming general election which he says limits what ministers can do and say.
“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 to not forget the environmental impact the affected vehicles have had. MPs discussed that there are some parts of the country that are in a state of air quality crisis, despite improvements in air quality.
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 surely this means VW are taking ownership for their errors, yet they are 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 have said that all tests should take place in real-life driving scenarios in the future.
Results may be sooner than we think…
MPs recognised what many 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 also said:
“[He] encourages the owners to consider the actions those legal firms are taking and consider whether it is right for them to join.”
Our group action
Here at Car Emissions Lawyers, we are in the process of pursuing a group action in the High Court against VW. We represent thousands of drivers claiming in the action, and you can join our group by completing the form on this site.
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