Knight’s Days - the Life at Westminster column with MP Sir Greg Knight

Ministers have agreed that it is time something was done to stop whiplash claims abuse.
Ministers have agreed that it is time something was done to stop whiplash claims abuse.

Ministers are being urged by MPs to tackle the problem of fraudulent whiplash claims.

Fraudsters who claim to suffer whiplash neck injuries following a minor car accident may seem to be a minor issue that is not worth bothering about, but the consequences are being felt by all motorists, including those in East Yorkshire.

Sir Greg Knight MP.

Sir Greg Knight MP.

Why? Because these fraudsters are driving up all motor insurance premiums.

I find it hard to disagree with former Lord’s Minister, Lord Faulks when he said that many whiplash claims contain ‘a strong element of a racket about them’.

The problem is made worse by the growth of so-called ‘claims management companies’ which encourage these claims via cold calling and then ask for disproportionately large fees out of the damages recovered.

Ministers agree that it is time something was done to stop this abuse.

It is expected that the Government will ensure that the Civil Liability Bill, currently before Parliament, contains provisions to deal with it.

In addition to cutting fraud, Parliament is also keen to cut down on plastic waste.

Some items in everyday use – such as drinking straws and cups – do not have to be made from plastic and could easily be made from a biodegradable cardboard.

It is distressing to see various forms of marine life choking on pieces of plastic that have been carelessly discarded.

Although we need to take action here, the statistics show that tackling the issue is not going to be easy. Plastic waste from Britain, the rest of Europe and the USA combined only accounts for just 2% of all the waste that litters our oceans, so Britain is already one of the more responsible countries in the world on this issue.

So, in going further, we need to see that the world’s developing countries also take action to cut their own waste, as this is where the biggest problem lies.

Potholes are a major factor in causing vehicle axle & suspension failure, which costs British motorists an estimated £2.8 billion every year.

Some motorists successfully claim for the damage caused and local authorities across the country currently pay out more than £30 million in compensation claims.

But, according to Professor Mark Miodownik, of University College London, help is coming.

The academic recently told a science festival that in future potholes will be fixed “in a minute” by robotic drones with 3D printers that will repair the damage speedily.

The Professor revealed that drone tests have already been carried out and he is sure that the technology will work.

The bad news is that he does not expect the first robots to be operational until 2050 -and by then we are told that cars will be driving themselves and so presumably capable of avoiding potholes anyway!

This problem cannot wait until 2050.

The Government has already provided an extra £100 million for pothole repairs. If this is not enough, the government should be prepared to do more.