14.In our 17th Report of this session we drew attention to oral evidence from Robert Courts MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport (DfT), on the Department’s significant backlog of overdue legislation. For that occasion, he had conducted an audit of the statutory instruments required to deal with the problem and set out arrangements to deal with the backlog by the end of 2023. Mr Courts has sent us a progress report, which is published in full in Appendix 1. We note that six of the required instruments are already in force, and that several more are at a late stage of preparation. We find this encouraging.
15.Following protracted correspondence with Baroness Vere of Norbiton, Minister for Roads, Buses and Places at DfT, her letter of 7 April 2022, published in full at Appendix 2, announces that the Impact Assessment (IA) for the Motor Vehicle (Driving Licences) (Amendment) (No. 5) Regulations 2021 has now been laid in Parliament. That is almost four months after the Regulations came into effect and long after the IA might have assisted Parliament by informing the scrutiny process. We note that the IA is equivocal about the potential for the removal of towing tests to affect road safety, largely due to a lack of data. We trust that better data will be collected to ensure that the consequences are monitored properly. We reiterate that unless the Government ensure that all necessary supporting documentation is laid before Parliament at the same time as an instrument itself, transparency is lost, and departments cannot be properly held to account for their policy decisions.
5 SLSC, (Session 2021–22, HL Paper 88).
6 See in particular SLSC (Session 2021–22, HL Paper 79), (Session 2021–22, HL Paper 123), (Session 2021–22, HL Paper 150) and (Session 2021–22, HL Paper 187).