Comment: Thatcham Research welcomes Labour’s ‘Plan for Drivers’ and invites party to Gamston test centre

Jonathan Hewett, chief executive of automotive risk intelligence company Thatcham Research, responds to The Labour Party’s ‘Plan for Drivers’ – calling for greater focus on the root causes of rising insurance costs and inviting the party to our Gamston test site to discuss the future of the UK automotive sector:

“Labour’s ‘Plan for Drivers’ aims to address issues faced by UK motorists such as rising insurance costs, potholes, and Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure. 

“Thatcham Research supports these goals, including Labour’s focus on reducing the cost of car insurance. However, addressing this issue through an FCA-led investigation will not necessarily tackle the core factors increasing insurance rates.

“While all drivers would agree that the UK’s roads are plagued by potholes and fixing these should be a priority, there are several wider factors that play a significant role in insurance price rises. 

“The UK repair industry is in the midst of an ongoing skills crisis, resulting from an ageing workforce and a lack of investment in apprenticeships to drive the skills required to return modern, tech-enabled vehicles to the road safely and efficiently. 

“Raising apprenticeship funding caps will help to ease this ongoing crisis by enabling businesses to train the next generation of skilled workers. 

“Thatcham Research remains committed to utilising our research facilities, skilled engineers and Automotive Risk Intelligence to lower insurance costs by working with vehicle manufacturers to ensure that new vehicles are easier to repair and therefore more insurable. 

“This includes EVs as highlighted in our BEV report last June which flagged a number of repair and insurance barriers to the adoption of these vehicles.  

“Accelerating the rollout of chargepoint infrastructure is important, however many EV owners would report reduced ‘range anxiety’ – but increased anxiety when it comes to the total cost of ownership of an EV and the likelihood their vehicle will be written off following minor collision damage.  

“HV batteries sit at the heart of this challenge, and we would call upon Labour to uplift investment in repair and recycling of HV batteries so that more value can be returned from them. A standardised means of understanding battery health and subsequent repair options is also key. 

“Thatcham Research welcomes Labour’s New Road Safety Strategy, as despite the advent of crash avoidance technology, killed and seriously injured numbers, especially those relating to vulnerable road users like pedestrians and cyclists, remain stubbornly high. 

“Although rising car thefts are referenced in Labour’s plan, steps must now be taken to disrupt the organised criminal gangs and the ease at which they can profit from stolen vehicles.  

“Despite the best efforts of vehicle manufacturers to close security vulnerabilities and the fact that the UK enjoys the highest baseline security standards in the world, urgent investment to deter criminal gangs is fundamental. 

“This can be achieved through progressing the Criminal Justice Bill and introducing greater penalties and consequences for those intent on stealing cars. 

“Thatcham Research is at the forefront of addressing the safety, sustainability, and security challenges which Labour’s ‘Plan for Drivers’ seeks to resolve.  

“To support the development and delivery of these pledges, Thatcham Research invites the Labour Party to return to our Gamston test site, building upon the visit by Labour MP Bill Esterson and Bassetlaw candidate Jo White earlier this year. 

“Thatcham Research will host a day of discussions around the future of the UK automotive sector, centred on keeping society on the move, safely, securely and sustainably.”

Privacy Policy & Terms of Use