Transport Committee continues push for VW compensation
The Transport Committee has reiterated its call for the Government to take action on compensation for owners affected by ‘Dieselgate’ as it publishes latest correspondence from transport minister Jesse Norman on 11 December.
In response to a letter from Transport Committee chair Lilian Greenwood, Mr Norman said the Government strongly believes that vehicle owners should be compensated for the “inconvenience, uncertainty and worry caused by Volkswagen’s actions as well as for any loss in the affected vehicles which may become apparent”. He also said the Government “has made it clear that we are prepared to provide any reasonable assistance to consumers who seek compensation directly from Volkswagen” and has also held talks with various legal firms who plan to take action on affected customers.
Mr Norman also said that the Government has not ruled out launching an investigation of its own but says, “Among EU states, it is for the German government in the first place to take legal action given that the vast majority, if not all, of the potential wrongdoing is likely to have occurred at Volkswagen AG in Germany”.
He added that “it would be inappropriate, and jurisdictionally difficult, to carry out a separate investigation in parallel with the German authorities”.
Ms Greenwood’s original letter also called for an update in regards to the committee’s call for an update on the December 2016 announcement that the European Commission was taking infringement proceedings against the UK and six other Member States on the basis that they had failed to fulfil their functions under EU type approval legislation.
In response Mr Norman said the Government had responded to the European Commission in February 2017 and set out that it did not believe its basic assertion and said the Government is in the process of assessing the available evidence.
Mr Norman also responded to a call for an update on its work to press VW to release the results of the internal investigation carried out by legal firm Jones Day. Although VW says the full report does not exist, the Government set out its view that this is “implausible in the extreme” and said it continues its call on VW to disclose the Jones Day’s findings in full.
In response, Ms Greenwood said: “I am grateful to the Minister for his reply, but on the face of it, there appears to be little effective action to deal with this scandal and that is wholly unsatisfactory for customers.
“This affair broke more than two years ago, and still the Government has not been able to secure any compensation for UK consumers, in stark contrast to the position in other countries. Ministers need to consider as a matter of urgency what they can do to protect the public from manufacturers who break the rules.
“It is also disappointing that on many other important issues, including the possibility of an investigation in the UK, the release of the Jones Day report, and assistance for consumers there seems to be no real update or meaningful progress. That is why I have now written back to the Minister urging action and requesting the Committee be kept regularly informed on developments between now and March 2018.”