Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Eleventh Report


Memorandum by the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions


1.The Committee has asked for a memorandum on the following points-

"(1) Given that the principal Regulations of 1981 have now been amended on numerous occasions (and in respects relevant to the present Regulations 13 times, as indicated in footnote (c) at page 1), does the Department intend consolidating the principal Regulations to assist the reader?"

2.The Department has already started work on consolidating the principal Regulations of 1981 although that task is unlikely to be completed before 2002. At present this work is being undertaken in conjunction with the work required to implement the Road Traffic (Vehicle Testing) Act 1999 which will lead to various changes to the existing provisions.

"(2) According to the Explanatory Note the fees increased by these Regulations were last increased in October 2000. Explain the reason for the size of the increase made by these Regulations in the fees payable under regulations 20(1)(c)(i), (c)(ii), (ca), (d)(i), (da)(i), (da)(ii) and (f) and 25(2) of the principal Regulations."

3.Each vehicle class (motorcycles, cars, light goods vehicles etc...) has a different MOT test and fee. Most of the test fee is retained by the testing station to cover their costs, but a small proportion (£1.19 of the £37.60 for a car MOT test) is payable to the Vehicle Inspectorate (VI) to cover their costs of supervising the scheme. This is known as the "pad fee levy".

4.MOT fees, including the pad fee element, are increased annually usually in line with inflation, plus around 1% to allow for the increasing proportion of vehicles fitted with catalytic converters which take longer to test than non-catalyst equipped vehicles. Two factors, however, have given rise to significant above inflation increases last and this year.

5.First, the VI's 'pad fee levy' is being used to absorb the costs of computerising the MOT testing regime. Implementation of the computerisation project means that the MOT certificate charge is being increased by up to £1.15 to cover the VI's project and operating costs once the scheme is up and running. The required increase is being phased in over four years: £0.36 in 2000/01, £0.25 in 2001/02, £0.30 in 2002/03 and £0.20 in 2003/04.

6.Secondly, the MOT fees needed to take account of the results of an exercise

conducted last year by the VI and the trade (the "test timing exercise") which showed that average test times for the eleven test fee classes were 10% higher than those included in fee calculations in previous years. Some test classes attracted a larger timing increase than others because of the additional number and complexity of separate testable items that featured in their overall test. For example, the timing exercise led to no additional timing increase for the motorcycle test but gave rise to 11% and 17% increases for the car and light goods vehicles tests respectively. Accordingly, test fees are being increased to reflect the true test times, but the increase is being staged over three years. The fees for 2001/02 attracted the second and largest stage of this overall increase.

7.For three of the eleven MOT test classes (involving light goods vehicles) there will be further above inflation increases next year as a result of the final stage of increases arising out of the test timing exercise. The remaining eight test classes attracted their final element of the test timing exercise this year and can therefore expect rises in the overall fee only slightly above inflation.

8.The end result is that all of these factors combined (inflation, pad fee levy and computerisation, the test timing exercise and the increased proportion of cars with catalysts) led to large increases in the test fees.


19th November 2001

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