MEPs back Labour calls for stronger rights for car buyers after emissions scandal

MEPs voted today for Labour amendments to the European Parliament’s report on Dieselgate that call for greater consumer rights for car buyers and protection for VW workers caught up in the emissions scandal – measures Tory and Ukip MEPs failed to fully support.

Most Conservative and all Ukip MEPs also voted against plans for more robust and independent surveillance of dirty vehicles on the road through an independent agency, free from industrial and national interests, to prevent emissions fraud in the future. The proposal fell by just 14 votes.

Labour’s amendments call for consumers to be “adequately and financially” compensated by the manufacturers involved, and for the European Commission to establish a common system of collective redress for all EU consumers. To date, VW has refused to pay out compensation to EU customers over the Dieselgate vehicle emissions scandal – despite having agreed a $10 billion settlement with drivers in the US.

The amendments tabled by Labour also call for any ordinary workers whose employment prospects are affected by the scandal to be given all necessary protection and training opportunities to ensure they can be re-employed.

Seb Dance MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on the environment and Socialists and Democrats Group spokesperson on the Committee of Inquiry into Emission Measurement in the Automotive Sector, said:

“VW deliberately misled British drivers on how much pollution their cars were spewing out. In the US they’ve paid out billions of dollars for their deception, yet consumers across Europe have not seen a single penny.

“This is a basic matter of natural justice. When it comes to concrete action on compensation, why the Tories and Ukip feel the rights of British drivers should be secondary to those in the US is beyond me.

“Those same MEPs, along with a number of Tories, also failed to stand up for the lives of their constituents by voting against independent monitoring of the emissions of cars on our roads that would have put an end to car makers gaming the system once and for all.

“And while in Strasbourg the Tories and Ukip have failed to learn the lessons from Dieselgate, in London a Labour Mayor has today unveiled plans for the world’s first ultra-low emissions zone, highlighting once again that only Labour can be trusted to protect our environment.”