Whitehall pledges its support for classics

| 7 Dec 2011

The Government has guaranteed no restrictions will be introduced on the usage of classic cars in the UK.The pledge came from Mike Penning, MP for Hemel Hempstead and Parliamentary Under Secretary for State for Transport, during the launch of the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs latest report into the size and make-up of the classic car hobby at the Houses of Parliament last night.Penning, who took part in this year's London to Brighton Veteran Car Run aboard the 1902 Mercedes Simplex driven by Nigel Mansell, said: "We have no plans whatsoever to restrict the use of classic and vintage vehicles, not as long as I am in my position." He added that, on the contrary, the classic car hobby should be protected and encouraged to grow even further: "For me, they are part of our heritage, and so long as I am in charge I will protect that heritage. I want to protect and encourage the use of these cars on our roads. We want to see more and more of them [classic cars], We should be proud of them and should be proud of our heritage."

Penning said that because of Brussels it was a constant battle to protect and preserve the hobby: "If we were in charge of our own destiny, it would not be an issue, but Europe has a slightly different view, and we must take steps with them first before addressing the issues that arise from that."

Greg Knight MP, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicles Group, also vowed to continue to fight the "pen-pushers" and "petty bureaucrats" who might try to impose legislation on classic cars and classic car usage.Knight added that Prime Minister David Cameron is a former member of the APPHVG and that his Parliamentary Private Secretary Desmond Swayne still is.He assured guests, which included Lord Steel of Aikwood and Lord Montagu among other industry luminaries, that the classic car hobby therefore "has the ear of Government at the highest level" and that enthusiasts in parliament are "kicking out above our weight".Although, as yet there is no advance on the reintroduction of a rolling system for road tax-emption for classic cars, both the MPs and the Federation said they would continue to lobby for it.They also urged enthusiasts to have their say in a huge survey following the Government consultation document on the possible scrapping of the MoT test for pre-1960 classics. Click here for details.