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VIC consultation update

VIC review
Government's views appear biased and flawed which makes it all the more important that we get our views accross.
Last month we reported that DFT is currently reviewing the VIC scheme and that there is currently an 'open' public consultation on this issue (which closes in October).

It is always good to have the opportunity to air views on these subjects, but it is disappointing to see what we believe is a biased and flawed way in which DFT has presented the data in the main paper, as this seems to bear little or no relation to the actual evidence.

Cat C vehicles cannot initially be taxed in the normal way on-line or at the local Post Office, but only at a DVLA local office or by post. In this respect, to date there seems to have been little discussion about the consequences of the planned closure of all DVLA local offices in 2013.

The paper reports that 38 ringers were deteted, but when you look at the costs of detecting these 38 vehicles, the main consultation uses only the direct cost of the test itself. Studying the accompanying Impact Assessment, it becomes clear that this is only the tip of the iceberg! Taking into account the time/ costs of the transport to and from the VIC station, the true costs become more apparent: over 5 times what the DFT states. This means that true cost of the scheme is closer to £150m than the £30m suggested by DFT. That's £3.5m for each ringer detected! Is this really the most cost-effective way of tackling vehicle crime? It's certain that many police forces would be very welcoming of the sums of money being discussed here!

The figure of 717,000 vehicle presented for VIC, is also misleading, as there were actually 2 million cat C vehicles in this period. So clearly, the majority of category C vehicles did not go through a VIC at all. We also understand from MVDA that only a small proportion of cat C vehicles get a COD issued, so in fact the majority of those 2m are 'missing'.

So how can anybody say that VIC has been a success?
In 10 years the scheme has detected (possibly) 38 ringers, at a cost to the motoring sector of over £150m (this doesn't even take account of the costs to Government, or the loss to salvage agents/ insurers for depressed salvage values), and more than 60% of vehicles that should have had the test have gone missing! In what way is this justifiable? There is no evidence that it has contributed in any way to eliminating 'ringing'.

There is concern that removing the VIC scheme will open the flood gates to 'ringing' but is this really justifiable? There are also concerns about salvage repair standards, which VIC doesn't address. But as the MOT test includes a check of the VIN, and could also take on board checks for areas of substantial previous damage, there seems little point in continuing VIC as it is.

The consultation raises the question about the current suitability of the ABI salvage classification. Does this suggest that DFT, like much of the salvage & dismantling industry, is concerned that this is now simply irrelevant? A good case in point is the treament of category A & B vehicles. The Salvage Code specifices that they should be destroyed, but not necessarily in the UK. And many insurers appear to have been lax about auditing. This is certainly an area that needs tightening up.

If you feel strongly about this issue, or any others, get in touch with your Trade Association. If you're not a member, then please think about joining - united we stand etc etc! But even so, this doesn't stop you writing to DFT with your own views.

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