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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.
As Parliament continues to be in recess, political activity has been relatively quiet, with a new focus being placed on the up and coming European elections (more detail provided left).
BIS have announced further investments for vehicle technology (below) and the Department for Transport announced on Thursday (24 April) that Councils have been invited to bid for a share of £168 million Pothole Fund, as part of a pothole pledge improvements will be made by March 2015.
If you have any questions or queries relating to any of the features in this week’s edition, please contact Katy Recina via firstname.lastname@example.org
For more policy updates follow @RMICaterina
MPs and MEPs
This week the RMI have been in contact with various political figures:
PRA: Petrol Retailers Association’s Chairman, Brian Madderson, receives correspondence from Priti Patel MP for Witham in support of the PRA’s campaign against plain packaging.
IGA: Director of the Independent Garage Association, Stuart James, met with Roger Helmer MEP this week to determine his plans for the independent sector in Europe.
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.
BIS announce £130 million investment for vehicle technology
On Wednesday (23 April), the department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) announced projects working on vehicle technology will receive £130 million investment.
The government-industry commitment has already stated some funding will be given to current projects focused on placing Formula 1 technology into buses and diggers and advancing vehicle engines.
From the £1 billion government-industry fund, £133 million will be provided for winning projects which were announced by the Business Secretary Vince Cable during his visit to Ford in Dunton, Essex on Wednesday .
The Advanced Populsion Centre (APC) will receive £500 million from a further government and industry investment over the next 10 years.
This investment will be focused on APC’s commitment to researching, developing and commercialising technologies for future vehicles; with the potential to create 30,00 jobs ‘currently linked to producing engines’ and throughout the supply chain.
Vince Cable said:
“The next generation of cars, buses and diggers will be powered by radically different technologies and I want them to be developed here in Britain”.
Update: Fuel prices 2014
Average UK petrol pump prices remain below 130p a litre, as identified by the AA in their latest AA Fuel Price Report.
Such a result has derived from the strength of the pound, which has protected drives against rising wholesale prices.Average UK petrol pump prices remain below 130p a litre, as identified by the AA in their latest AA Fuel Price Report.
With the UK pound remaining 7% higher than the dollar, compared to April 2013, ‘a 3p to 4p-a-litre increase has so far been averted’.
However, British motorists will still find themselves paying higher rates for fuel than their European counterparts, with fuel prices in Germany and France more than 5p a litre cheaper than the UK and 15p cheaper in Spain. The prices are even more notable when comparing this to the US, where the price of fuel can be bought by motorists for 57p a litre.
Nevertheless, the findings are an encouraging sign for the progress of the UK economy. AA President, Edmund King said:
“The UK’s economic recovery has boosted the value of the pound and insulated UK drivers from a typical US motoring season-inspired petrol price surge.
“Pump prices across Europe have a nasty habit of exposing the impact of high tax levels on road fuel in the UK – despite the long-term freeze on duty. The government can at least take some comfort from Holland and Italy [with an additional 17p to 18p a litre] squeezing their drivers equally hard when paying tax through the nozzle”.
EU elections 2014 and the President of the European Commission
With the 2014 European election period well under way, it is now clear that the day to casts votes will soon be upon us.
The European Parliamentary elections will take place across the 28 member states between 22-25 May, with the UK vote taking place on Thursday 22 May. 751 MEPs will be elected with the UK allotted 73 MEPs cast from its 12 electoral regions.
However this time, the European electorate will not only be able to vote for Members of the European Parliament (‘MEPs’). Instead, additional rights will be given to enable voters to ‘have a say over who will be the next President of the European Commission’.
Whilst this will not be the deciding vote on who is to be Commission President, member states will have to take into consideration the results; the appointed President will also have to be endorsed by the majority of elected MEPs.
Jimena Gómez de la Flor, Europe Direct Senior Communication Officer said:
“This is a very important thing to do in such a moment because the European Union is fighting against the economic crisis; EU leaders are deciding what direction to take in the future.
“This is why the European voters have a very important say right now in deciding … the future of the EU and that’s why …this time [the elections are] different.”
The Houses of Parliament are currently in recess. The House of Commons will open again on 28 April.
Monday 28 April
Oral Qu Home Office (HC)
Tuesday 29 April
Oral Qu HM Treasury (HC)
Legislation Committee Draft Licensing Act 2003 Order 2014 (HC)
General Committee Finance (No.2) Bill (HC)
Westminster Hall debate Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles
Treasury Select Committee Inquiry into SME Lending
Wednesday 30 April
Oral Qu Cabinet Office (HC)
PMQ’s from 12:00 (HC)
Committee Meeting European Committee B (HC)
Thursday 1 May
Oral Qu: Women and Equalities (HC)
Business Statement from leader of the House (HC)
General Committee Finance (No.2) Bill (HC)
Friday 2 May Recess