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Coalition 'carrot' to woo motorists
NEW plans aimed at cutting the cost of motoring have been unveiled – including the price of MOTs capped at £54 until 2015 and new road signs being installed to alert motorists where the cheapest fuel is.
The Govern-ment has announced a raft of measures to bring down car costs in a bid to sway voters ahead of the next general election. It includes freezing statutory MOT prices at £54.85, meaning independent garages cannot legally charge a higher rate for the test.
From January, a trial will also take place where selected motorway routes get electronic signs comparing fuel prices at all the nearby forecourts, similar to a system already operating in France to drive down prices.
The Government says it intends to then roll it out to the vast majority of routes across the country, including the M5 in Worcestershire, if the pilot is successful.
Yesterday, the signs would have struggled to help motorists, with services along the M5, at Strensham, near Worces-ter, Frankley and at Michaelwood, Gloucest-ershire, all selling petrol at the same price – 142.9p per litre for unleaded and 149.9p per litre for diesel.
However, if nearby rout-es were included, drivers on the motorway could be shown the prices at forecourts such as in London Road, Worcester, where fuel was being sold for 129.9p per litre for unleaded and 136.9p per litre for diesel.
A spokesman from the Department for Transport said: “The pilot will be small scale, but the intention is to then put them up across the network so drivers can clearly identify where they want to stop.”
Meanwhile, the MOT freeze means a planned increase of £4 has been scrapped, saving about £50 million nationwide.
Independent garages in Worcester say they are not opposed to the Government’s stance, despite the fact it could hit their pockets.
Bill Tansell, of Airora Tansells in Diglis Road, which has been trading since 1919, said: “It sounds like what the Government is doing is basically freezing the price. It would not bother us at all because we think £54 is a very reasonable fee to charge.”
A crackdown on whip-lash injury fraud is also part of the driver-friendly package.Independent medical panels will be created across the regions which will probe suspected bogus compensation claims. The panels will be ex-pected to get advice from professionals and will have the power to make final rulings over claims from the public.
Worcester MP Robin Walker said: “Providing better information on motorway fuel prices is a welcome step but I would still like to see more action on the enormous differentials in price.
“It is also right for the Government to do what it can on the price of the MOT test as this is another cost directly set by the Government.”
As your Worcester News revealed on Saturday, fuel prices in Worcester have dipped to their lowest levels for years. Yesterday seven garages within a 10-mile radius of the city were charging 130.9p or lower for petrol, with Sainsbury’s in Blackpole the cheapest at 128.9p per litre.