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RMI Government Digest: 02/05/2014Back

RMI2Welcome to the latest RMI Government Update for the week commencing, Monday 28 April.

Each week we aim to provide you with a summary of the key publishing’s, political announcements and legislative activities from Westminster and Europe, affecting the motor industry; as well as a little insight into what the RMI has been up to.

Parliamentary announcements, news and meetings

Key questions from PMQ’s and Westminster this week:

This week National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) Director, Sue Robinson, met with Shadow BIS Minister, Iain Wright, to update him with NFDA news and future plans.

Prime Minister’s Questions

Wednesday 30 April

Qu: Alex Cunningham (Stockton North) (Lab): When will the Prime Minister publish the regulations to introduce standard packaging for tobacco products and ban smoking in cars when children are present?

The Prime Minister: I cannot pre-judge the Queen’s Speech, but we have said that we want to take action on this front and we will.

 

Statement from the Prime Minister: Since the recess, we have seen a series of figures on our economy: growth is now running at over 3%, 1.5 million of our fellow countrymen and women are in work since this Government came to power, inflation is at a five-year low and business confidence is at its highest level since the early 1970s. There is still a lot of work to do and there is absolutely no complacency.

Questions and Announcements

Driving: Licensing
House of Commons – Written Answers

Answered on: Thursday 1 May 2014

Transport

Driving: Licensing

Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to streamline provisional licences for the drivers of heavy goods vehicles. [196857]

Stephen Hammond: There are no plans to change the current process for the issue of provisional driving licences to drive heavy goods vehicles.

 

House of Commons – Oral Questions Tabled
Tabled on: Thursday 1 May 2014

Due for answer on: Thursday 8 May 2014

Department for Transport

Mr David Ward :
What assessment his Department has made of the effect of Government policy on the level of car insurance premiums. [903899]

 

AUTONOMOUS EMERGENCY BRAKING SYSTEMS
House of Commons – Early Day Motions
Jim Fitzpatrick

That this House congratulates Thatcham Research for its Stop the Crash campaign to raise awareness about the safety benefits of autonomous emergency braking (AEB) systems; notes the growing body of research that AEB reduces the occurrence of low speed crashes by around 20 per cent as well as being important in mitigating the effects of higher speed crashes; and welcomes the initiative taken by esure Group in offering motor insurance premium reductions to encourage people to purchase cars fitted with AEB as standard in order to support safety on UK roads.

(1310)

 

House of Commons Transport Committee

MPs have agreed to publish the Better Roads report from its fifteenth session on Wednesday 7 May. The full title will be; Better roads: improving England’s strategic road network. Announced Friday 2 April.

 

WESTMINSTER

Government response to consultation on transforming the Highways Agency into a government-owned company

First released in October 2013, the government produced a reform plan of the Highways Agency that was addressed in a series of consultation papers.

On Tuesday, (29 April) Robert Goodwill MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport), released a statement detailing their intentions for reform, following analysis of consultation responses. The following was stated:

  • set up the Highways Agency as a government-owned strategic highways company – with the legal powers and duties to manage and run the roads
  • put in place a robust system of governance for this company – giving the road operator the flexibility needed to operate, manage and enhance the strategic road network effectively
  • establish – for the first time – a ‘Road investment strategy’ which will detail the performance standards the company will achieve and an investment programme it will deliver over the next 5 years
  • set up new, discrete units within Passenger Focus and the Office of Rail Regulation – to represent the interests of all those who use and rely upon the strategic road network, and to monitor the efficiency and performance of the company

 

£500 million to get more drivers into ultra low emission vehicles

In an announcement made on Tuesday (29 April) by Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, the Government has pledged to invest £500 million to ‘boost the ultra low emission vehicle industry’ and help drivers both afford and feel confident using electric cars.

This is a direct result of the Call for Evidence issued by the Government last year, which the NFDA responded to in December.

The investment will be split throughout 2015 – 2020 and aims to create jobs, reduce emissions and ensure ‘Britain remains at the forefront of green technology’.

The investment will:

– Create ‘Ultra Low City Status’

– Create jobs and innovate

– End ‘range anxiety’ – charging infrastructures

– Save consumers money

Some of the money will be invested in the following features:

· At least £200m for the continuation of the plug-in car grant;

· The grant to stay at £5,000 per car until 2017, or the first 50,000 vehicles, whichever is the sooner;

· Over £30m for other ULEV types including vans;

· £100m for ULEV-specific R&D;

· £35m for a new city scheme competition;

· £20m for ULEV taxis;

· £30m for low emission buses;

· £32m for infrastructure including rapid chargers;

· £4m for HGV gas refuelling infrastructure;

 

Nick Clegg, said:

“Our economy is growing thanks to sectors like our thriving automotive industry that that are helping repair and rebalance the economy, building a fairer society for this generation and the next”.

 

New changes could cut Britain’s 4.6 million road signs

New plans to allow local councils in Great Britain the freedom to cut down the number of road markings and signs, were announced by Roads Minister Robert Goodwill today (1 May 2014).

The changes are included in a new consultation which also contains proposals for clearer road markings and new low-level signals for cyclists which will help improve safety on the roads.

The proposals will reduce the number of signs that the Department for Transport will need to authorise and streamline the approval process for councils, cutting regulation.

 

Business Secretary Vince Cable has today (1 May 2014) confirmed that Citizens Advice is to receive an extra £7.5 million.

Thursday, (1 May), Business Secretary Vince Cable confirmed that Citizens Advice would receive an additional £7.5million to aid consumers who have bought faulty goods or been ‘scammed’ by rogue traders.

‘This extra funding will enable the national charity to better provide advice to more than 17 million people online, over the phone and face to face’.

‘This comes as Citizens Advice launch Scams Awareness Month. The aim is to raise the profile of steps consumers can take to avoid the four most common scams – online, doorstep, telephone and postal – and to encourage people to get in touch for advice if they think they, a friend or relative has been a victim.

The organisation currently receives £31 million.

The Business Secretary’s speech also outlined the key changes that government has made to the competition regime and consumer landscape. These include:

  • amendments to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations – coming into force in October this year (2014) – that give consumers who have been bullied or misled into buying goods and services new rights to get their money back
  • the creation of the new Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) – an independent authority responsible for promoting effective competition in markets across the UK economy, and with an objective to ensure that competition delivers benefits for consumers
  • putting money back into consumers’ pockets by speeding up the process for people to switch to a cheaper energy tariff
  • a new Consumer Rights Bill to set out a simple, modern framework of consumer rights
  • the creation of the Groceries Code Adjudicator to ensure fairness in the relationships between the largest supermarkets and their direct suppliers

Europe

EU28 unemployment rate at 10.5%

The EU28 unemployment rate was 10.5% in March 2014, stable compared with February 2014, but down from 10.9% in March 2013. These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

Eurostat estimates that 25.699 million men and women in the EU28, of whom 18.913 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in March 2014. Compared with February 2014, the number of persons unemployed decreased by 66 000 in the EU28 and by 22 000 in the euro area. Compared with March 2013, unemployment decreased by 929 000 in the EU28 and by 316 000 in the euro area.

Member States

Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria (4.9%), Germany (5.1%) and Luxembourg (6.1%), and the highest in Greece (26.7% in January 2014) and Spain (25.3%).

Youth Unemployment

In March 2014, 5.340 million young persons (under 25) were unemployed in the EU28.

In March 2014, the lowest rates were observed in Germany (7.8%), Austria (9.5%) and the Netherlands (11.3%), and the highest in Greece (56.8% in January 2014), Spain (53.9%) and Croatia (49.0% in the first quarter of 2014).

Preparation of Economic and Finance Ministers Council, Brussel.

The EU’s Council of Economic and Finance (ECOFIN) Ministers meeting will take place in Brussels on 6 May at 11.00. The European Commission will be represented by Siim Kallas, Vice President and acting Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro, and Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner responsible for Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-fraud.

The Council will be discussing the following areas of business:

– Parent-Subsidiary Directive: closing loopholes in Company Taxation (ET)

– Financial Transaction Tax (ET)

– Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure: in-depth reviews (SOC)

– Follow-up to the meetings of G20 Finance Ministers and Governors (10-11 April) and International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank (13 April) in Washington (SOC)

Direct announcement from the European Economic and Social Committee

Published 30 April 2014

Services Directive: the rule of law, the only guarantee of fair competition and fair working conditions

The European Economic and Social Committee’s Single Market Observatory (SMO) has completed its survey on the workings of the Services Directive in the very complex construction sector. The conclusion is clear: the sensitive balance between the freedom to provide cross-border services and the need for effective instruments to monitor and enforce labour standards must be further strengthened.

Much has been achieved, but more has yet to be done, starting with the urgent need to make the single market a reality. As the survey suggests, there is no need for more legislation but proper enforcement of existing laws is a core issue. To this end, a number of steps need to be taken, including – but not limited to – European minimum standards for inspection services, a European compendium of tax and social concepts and the introduction of a European social security number. In the construction sector, it is also vital to overcome any discrepancies between the principles of the country of destination and those of the country of origin.

As Martin Siecker, president of the Section for the Single Market, Production and Consumption, said:

“All services, cross-border or not, are provided by people for people and all legal, social and financial aspects are interconnected. There is, therefore, a need for a common approach, for cooperation among Member States, genuine good governance and a further strengthening of dialogue between social partners and public authorities.”

Bogus self-employment, fraudulent firms moving from one Member State to another to avoid possible prosecution and deficient law enforcement at national and cross-border level are just some of the problems that need to be addressed at the highest level. Society in general and the construction sector in particular would benefit from a coherent EU-wide approach.

The role of the SMO is to analyse how the single market operates, identify problems and obstacles and propose solutions from a civil society perspective. This study is a snapshot of the current situation on the ground. Its aim is to elicit responses to controversial and in some cases explosive developments. Civil society can make concrete, experience-based proposals, provide examples of best practices and help establish common European criteria wherever they are needed.

RMI Consultations

The RMI associations are currently looking into the following consultation papers:

– Consultation on the Enforcement of Vehicle Tyre Labelling Regulations (UK)

– Consultation on Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumers (EU)

– Administration of business rates

Westminster Diary

Monday

Bank Holiday

Tuesday

House of Commons: 1 May until 6 May. The following recess will be 22 May until 2 June.

House of Lords: Currently in recess until 6 May. The next recess is from 21 May until 4 June.

General Committee: Finance (No.2) Bill Committee (HC)

Select Committee: Scottish Affairs – The Reference on Separation for Scotland (HC)

Select Committee: Public Administration – Civil Service impartiality and referendums (HC)

Select Committee: Backbench Business – Proposals (HC)

Wednesday

Oral Questions: Scotland (HC)

PMQ’s (starting at 12.00) (HC)

Select Committee: Work and Pensions – Employment and Support Allowance and Work Capabilities Assessments (HC)

Select Committee: Public Accounts – Debt owed to Government (HC)

Grand Committee: Orders and Regulations – Scotland Act 1998 (HL)

Grand Committee: Representation of the people (England and Wales) (HL)

Grand Committee: Representation of the people (Scotland) (HL)

Grand Committee: BBC’s coverage of EU matters – Lord Pearson of Rannoch/Lord Bates (HL)

Thursday

Oral Questions: Transport (HC)

Business Statement: Leader of the House (HC)

Select Committee: Political and Constitution – Voter engagement in the UK (HC)

General Committee: Finance (No.2) Bill Committee (HC)

Friday

No relevant Business

Posted by Leana Kell on 02/05/2014