Black market is 'putting lives and jobs at risk'
But will government clamp down as fears grow over level of repairs?
Published 16/07/2014 | 00:00
THE 'black market' is putting lives and jobs at risk, it is claimed.
The issue has been brought centre stage as the Government is coming under pressure to do something.
Yesterday's report by Jim Power into the motor industry served to spark a fresh debate.
When asked by Independent Motors what could be done to tackle back-street repairs, SIMI's Alan Nolan compared the high level of activity we have seen over the years in clamping down on illegal fuel activity with the low level of action in other areas of motoring's black market.
It is an area of concern to the likes of SIMI president James Brooks who outlined his fears over the safety of ageing vehicles.
And Jim Power made the point that increasing taxation on legitimate outlets is only going to drive more people into the shadow economy.
Mr Nolan agreed it would take a concerted and lengthy effort to reduce the level of black market activity.
This is an area that everyone knows exists but few are prepared to 'spill the beans'.
If we are honest, we all know someone who can do a job on a car much cheaper than a main, legitimate dealer. There are hundreds, possibly thousands, eking out a living by doing a few nixers in the shed at the side or back of a house.
The question to be posed is this: Is there a political will to enforce legitimacy on people?
Has there not been a tacit acceptance that people are entitled to 'earn a crust' in tough times?
Mr Nolan is correct when he says that the culture is endemic, stemming in many cases from people losing jobs and having nothing else to turn to.
Alongside that is the simple fact that more people are driving older cars than has been the case for some time. And they tend to want to spend less on what is an increasingly financially worthless, but practically vital, mode of transport.
The dangers involved in patching up old cars with second-hand or half-worn parts are apparent to all.
But in the real world, it is a thorny issue for all concerned and it is one that is not going to quickly go away.