It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship for the first time in this capacity, Mr Crausby. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Southend West on introducing this Bill to simplify the arrangements for driving instructors. As he has pointed out, some of the legislation and rules for the industry are simply out of date and due for a change, and some do not reflect current working practices and are unfair on ADIs.
There are two big ideas in the Bill. The first is to help people back into the industry through the removal of the requirement to redo the three-part qualification. Last year, 2,500 ADIs allowed their registration to lapse but only 1%—just 25 ADIs—applied to requalify. I suspect that number would increase if we removed the barrier to re-entry that they currently face. It would save time, taking the requalification process down from 34 to six weeks. That significant change would allow ADIs to recommence their careers much more easily, and the time saved could be spent earning a living and helping more people to achieve their driving licence.
The second idea is voluntary removal from the register and the updating of procedures to help ADIs. Last year, 610 ADIs asked to be removed from the register as they had other commitments, but legally the registrar cannot do that; they can be removed only for reasons of conduct, competence or discipline. That is utterly unfair and does not reflect what is happening in people’s lives and careers. The change to the rules is therefore very positive. The Government support the Bill and will continue to do so as it progresses through this House and the other place.
Thank you, Mr Crausby, for your patient chairmanship of the Committee, even though it has not lasted long. I thank the Doorkeepers and the Hansard reporters for the support they have given to the Committee. I thank all colleagues who have made the effort to be here in very large numbers this morning to celebrate and put a smile back on the faces of driving instructors. I also thank the Clerk, without whose guidance we would not have been able to function so well as a Committee.
I would like to build upon the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Southend West by thanking you, Mr Crausby, the Committee as a whole and all the staff for their help. I should also put on the record my congratulations to my hon. Friend for getting the Bill this far. I look forward to seeing it on the statute book in the near future.