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Welcome to the latest RMI Government Update for the week commencing, Monday 19 May.
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 and the overall political environment.
The big story this week is the European elections and local Council elections which took place yesterday throughout the country. An update summary on this can be found below.
In other news, the EU has warned manufactures that if unfair practices continue, legislation will be implemented.
Employment law updates and DVLA announcements can also be found below.
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
European and Local Elections
Thursday (22 May) saw the electorate of the UK take to the polling stations and cast their votes in the European and local Council elections. Whilst the outcome of the European elections will not be finalised or announced until this Sunday, the local council elections have caused a tidal wave effect throughout the political stream and has seen safe-hold constituency voters turn away from their expected parties and cast their votes elsewhere.
Much media attention has surrounded the results sweeping in throughout Friday (23 May) so here at the RMI policy department we have put together a summary of the most important findings (found so far) from the electoral results.
In the words of James Kirkup, Political Editor for The Telegraph, ‘Ukip haven’t actually won… but everyone else has lost’. ‘Some perspective here’.
Whilst UKIP have undoubtedly performed well in the local elections, it is arguably the effect that this will have on the three main political parties that is most significant. The standard ‘safe seats’ held on as guarantees by the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour, have seen votes lost and deflections to UKIP.
The prime example of this is Essex, where the ‘Essex Man’ voted UKIP and the party gained 11 new seats in Basildon, five in Castle Point and five in Southend-on Sea, as the councils shifted from a Conservative majority, to no overall majority for any party. This type of result has also been seen in Rotherham, where Labour lost out and UKIP become the official opposition in Rotherham.
2. End of the two party system
‘In the 1950s, the two big parties regularly took more than 9 of every 10 votes cast in Britain. That’s now more like two thirds. In other words, the two-party system is over’. The big question is has Britain now become a four party system? With Nick Clegg stating that the Liberal Democrats are no longer the protest vote, with this now belonging to UKIP, have we seen the settlement of four main parties?
As the Evening Standard reports, the patterns in London are quite different from the rest of the UK; granting UKIP a mere 3% of votes, denying ‘Ukip leader Nigel Farage victory in the capital’.
4. Nick Clegg
With the Liberal Democrats clearly taking the hardest hits from the Council results and from European election polls, a question is to be raised as to the security of Nick Cleggs leadership. The local elections are normally where the Liberal Democrats perform strongest, however, if poll results emerge correct, the party could see themselves coming fifth in the European election results nationally.
Clegg has provided the following comment:
“The Liberal Democrats, all of us under my leadership, realised that it was going to be tough, going to be difficult,” he told BBC News in response to questions over his leadership future.
“Joining the coalition was controversial in the first place. Having to take these really painstaking decisions to get the economy right – of course that’s not going to be universally popular.
“And there is a very strong mood of restlessness and dissatisfaction with mainstream politics. And that’s reflected in the results for all the mainstream parties, including the Liberal Democrats.”
Clegg added: “Based on the results that have come in so far, it’s obviously been a mixed result, a mixed night for my party, the Liberal Democrats and for the other mainstream parties.
“It’s not easy, it’s never easy to see dedicated, hard-working Liberal Democrat councillors lose ground, but actually in the areas where we have MPs, where we have good organisation on the ground, where we can get our message across we’re actually doing well.”
Vince Cable, the Business Secretary who has been tipped as a future party leader, said: “There isn’t a leadership issue and I think he has enhanced respect as a result of being willing to engage with these very difficult issues.”
And so the final results, in their full impacting force will be felt on Sunday. What is clear is that these elections are a real ‘wakeup call’ for the three main parties. With the run up to the 2015 elections now impending, the next year should see some real political movements.
For more information, please contact Katy Recina, RMI Policy Officer via email@example.com
EU warns manufacturers that it will legislate on unfair practices if no industry solution is forthcoming
Since 2010, most vehicle manufacturers in Europe have been reluctant to engage on the topic of a meaningful and binding industry code of good conduct designed to foster clearer and fairer relations between dealers and manufacturers.
This position has been adopted by the manufacturer body, ACEA, despite consistent lobbying on the part of dealer representative bodies such as the RMI’s NFDA, ECD (European Car Dealers – a Division of CECRA) and support from the European Parliament.
The significant degree of unfairness experienced by dealers at the hands of manufacturers (ranging from arbitrary terminations to onerous standards) was highlighted in two European Commission consultations in 2011 and 2013 and as part of the NFDA market study conducted in 2012, which polled approximately 1,000 dealership sites in the UK.
As a complement to its work on unfair practices, around 12 months ago the NFDA drafted and, in conjunction with ECD, presented a series of proposals for an industry code of conduct to the relevant department within the Commission (DG Enterprise) as part of the ongoing CARS2020 project. The Commission encouraged manufacturers to consider these proposals.
In the face of continued resistance on the part of manufacturers to progress this option over the last 18 months, the Commission announced yesterday that unless an acceptable code can be agreed, it intends to initiate a legally binding solution, which could feasibly take the form of a new sector-specific regulation, intended to improve dealer manufacturer relations.
NFDA Director, Sue Robinson, comments “This is an important first step in bridging the harmful gaps left by the removal of the sector-specific block exemption.”
The Commission’s commitment to a achieving a concrete solution is set out in a final report of the relevant CARS2020 Sherpa Group, which describes key strategic objectives for the sector. The report will be published in due course and should form a basis upon which solid measures designed to improve the balance in dealer/manufacturer relations can be developed.
Further updates will be provided in due course.
DVLA encourages motorists to get a red vehicle registration certificate
Published 22 May 2014
Motorists who still have the old V5C blue vehicle registration certificate (logbook) are encouraged to swap it for a new red V5C for free.
DVLA has now completed automatic roll out of the red vehicle registration certificate (V5C). It is now encouraging the keepers of any vehicles who still have an old style blue V5C to replace it with new a red V5C free of charge.DVLA also recommends that any buyer offered a second hand vehicle with a blue V5C gets the seller to replace the document with a red one from DVLAbefore they part with any money for the vehicle.
DVLA completed the automatic roll out in 2012. The new style red document was automatically issued when:
The new certificate was introduced following the theft of a number of defective blank certificates in 2006 after they had been rejected by DVLAand returned to the supplier. The aim was to reduce the risks to motorists of buying a stolen or cloned vehicle.
DVLA recommends buyers ask to see proof of ownership of a vehicle – such as a bill of sale – and check the vehicle’s service records and a MOT certificate to assure themselves that the sale is legal.
Criminals try to legitimise the sale of a stolen or cloned vehicle with a forged or stolen registration certificate and they get away with it because many motorists believe that a V5C registration certificate is proof of ownership. It is important that motorists are aware that this is not the case.
GOV.UK has details giving motorists tips on what to look out for when buying a second hand car or search Google for: Buyer Beware DVLA.
Existing V5Cs will remain valid until they are replaced.
Employment Law Update
The next steps for the Employment Law Review
Jenny Willcott MP gave a speech on 2 April this year, which was published this week (21 May) detailing the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (‘BIS’) plans for the Employment Law Review.
At the Westminster Employment Forum seminar, Wilcott stated the following:
“I’ve been asked today to update you on the progress that we’ve made in reforming employment law but before that I just want to take a moment to sort of consider a little about the labour market at the moment and the position that we’re in. People are getting jobs and compared to this time last year, an extra 459,000 people have jobs and a record number of people are in work, it’s over 30 million people. We now have a higher employment rate than the United States and the Eurozone average and if we examine the increase a bit more closely, there’s more good news as well because unemployment is falling, there are more older workers staying on in the labour market and youth unemployment, although it’s high, is falling as well. So that’s the context that we’re looking at.
“So I think it’s fair to say that the labour market is working, businesses are hiring and people are finding work and positive employment data is becoming a feature of the economic recovery and I think one that we didn’t all necessarily expect to see at the beginning of the financial troubles a few years ago”.
Wilcott then went on to detail the current Employment Law Review, and what is left to assess in the final quarter of the review process. So far she stated;
We’ve enabled ACAS to introduce early conciliation which you’ve just been hearing about in the previous session and we’ve enabled employment tribunals to award financial penalties for those employers that do not pay up”.
The future for the Review is as stated:
– Enforcement of employment law, for example minimum wage, migration, employee rights.
– Youth unemployment
– Career development.
Wilcott finished with the following;
“Alongside that we’ll be looking to identify the future challenges in the labour market, some of which I’ve set out but as the labour market changes and grows with the economy, we may start seeing new trends that we also need to start identifying and start looking at as well.
“So I would welcome your views on what you think those issues may be as well and thank you very much for listening today”.
If you feel there is anything the RMI should be working on in relation to this, please let us know and we can discuss your thoughts.
This week; the RMI policy department attended a BIS consultation seminar (Wednesday) discussing the current ADR consultation paper which will directly impact on the RMI’s National Conciliation Service (‘NCS’).
The RMI has also today, submitted a response to the Department for Transport’s (‘DfT’) consultation on the enforcement of Vehicle Tyre Labelling Regulations.
The RMI associations are currently looking into the following consultation papers:
– Consultation on Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumers (EU)
– Administration of business rates