The Institute of the Motor Industry has slammed MPs’ attitudes to the automotive industry, accusing them of being out of touch with the sector.
In a cross-party survey of 99 MPs, the IMI found that more than half said the motor trade was “low skilled, low paid and dirty” – a misconception that appears to have enraged the motor industry professional body.
IMI CEO Steve Nash said: “There is a terrible confusion in Parliament about the people in our industry.
“They understand that large numbers of hard working people make their living in it, and that 35 million vehicle owners depend on them to keep them on the road. Beyond this they are quite happy to perpetuate unhelpful stereotypes of a grimy back street trade.
“This attitude is not helping the public to understand the level of skill necessary to work in our sector.”
Remarkably, MPs actually used the survey to attack other MPs, something that has also irritated the IMI. One Labour MP, for example, said Deputy PM Nick Clegg “reminds me of a car salesman – says one thing when you take the car, then he takes you for a ride”. Ouch.
The IMI is thus calling on MPs to change their attitudes towards the industry when they return from their summer break. Key to this will be new licencing legislation for the automotive sector, which the IMI says could be based around its own IMI Accreditation scheme. Benefits of this include helping the public “establish who the appropriately qualified individuals are and where they work via the IMI’s Professional Register.
“We would encourage all MPs to take a look too.” Whether so-called ‘out of touch’ MPs will now be so willing to do so remains to be seen.