Select Committee on Trade and Industry Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 57 - 59)




  57. Good morning. Mr Macgowan, I presume you will be leading this morning. Perhaps you would introduce your colleagues?
  (Mr Macgowan) Thank you. On my right, I have Paul Everitt who is our head of policy and economics at the Society of Motor Manufacturers. On my left I have Steve Franklin who is our technical manager of vehicle recycling.

  58. I do not wish to appear impertinent at the beginning—it may develop later on—but from the fact that you have brought along two of your qualified technical staff as distinct from representatives of the industry do I take it that there is a bit of difficulty in getting a unified voice? This is a syndrome that we are not unaware of in Westminster, but in relation to other organisations. Would it be right to say, without being facetious, that within the industry there are differing emphases as to the views on this issue?
  (Mr Macgowan) Firstly, I would like to thank you for your warm welcome. Secondly, on this particular point and on this particular piece of legislation, which is an environmental piece of legislation as we all know, the answer is that there is a united view amongst manufacturers. Indeed, there is a united view on the way in which we could move forward with the interpretation of this directive that results in our team being here today because our manufacturing members have supported the submission that we have put to you completely.

  59. Would it be true however that different parts of the industry, different players, will be affected in differing ways? Obviously, there is the high volume against the low volume; there are the new entries against companies which have been in place for a long time and there are companies that have been through various metamorphoses which mean that they still have a responsibility for vehicles which are normally no longer part of the industry.
  (Mr Macgowan) You are right. When it comes to interpreting this legislation in comparison to other Member States, most other Member States are able to get rid of some of their old vehicles to other markets. This is an option that the United Kingdom does not have bearing in mind we drive on the left hand side of the road. Also, in the United Kingdom there are shades of interest in this legislation. A colleague of mine who runs the Morgan car company, for instance, said they had never experienced an end of life vehicle, so clearly at one end of the spectrum you have a situation where it is not a point at all; whereas by contrast and on a very much more serious note I was speaking this morning with Kevin Howe, the chief executive of MG Rover, who said that his company would be seriously affected by this legislation and were the legislation to be introduced in an inappropriate way it could seriously reverse all the superb progress that that company has made in these last 18 months. I am sure none of us would want to be a party to that kind of reversal.

  Chairman: That is a point which sparked some of us onto promoting this as an issue for consideration because we felt that there were players within the British motor industry whose circumstances were fragile and might become quite perilous.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 6 December 2001