Vehicle Testing Examiners

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th May 1976.

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Photo of Mr David Mitchell Mr David Mitchell , Basingstoke 12:00 am, 26th May 1976

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will extend to all authorised examiners running vehicle testing stations who have already had their authorisation withdrawn on a first offence without warning the new modified withdrawal scheme, under which all present and future first offenders are given a written warning first.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Marks Mr Kenneth Marks , Manchester, Gorton

I regret that this would not be practicable. There are many cases involved, extending over several years, and there would be great difficulty in ensuring equitable treatment for them all.

Photo of Mr David Mitchell Mr David Mitchell , Basingstoke

Since the Minister has already accepted the principle that it would be appropriate to give warnings, is he not now prepared to accept for reconsideration applications from firms which have had licences withdrawn on a first-come, first-served basis?

Photo of Mr Kenneth Marks Mr Kenneth Marks , Manchester, Gorton

There would be great difficulty in making this matter retrospective, and there would also be difficulties in regard to manpower and time spent on these matters in the Department. Most of the firms which have had their authorisations withdrawn have been suspended for a period of five years. That figure relates to the period 1968 to 1971. The bulk of these cases are now returning to the Department and will require a great deal of consideration.

Photo of Mr Phillip Whitehead Mr Phillip Whitehead , Derby North

Will my hon. Friend say when it will be possible for firms which lost their authorisations under the old scheme, with some hardship as a result of isolated lapses, to reapply for licences? Does he not agree that many of these firms deserve to be relicensed?

Photo of Mr Kenneth Marks Mr Kenneth Marks , Manchester, Gorton

A documentation offence involves a suspension of two years, but other, more serious matters involve suspensions of up to five years.