Whiplash reform: Does Westminster already think it’s job done?
With all attention elsewhere, the whiplash reforms could be sleepwalking into trouble
It’s been another week of big Brexit news, with little room for anything else.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister brokered a new deal with the European Union on how the UK will leave. The pros of the deal, cons of the deal, and differences between this and the deal secured by his predecessor Theresa May are all very much up for debate, but for the moment anyway, the Prime Minister is claiming victory in his renegotiation.
Attention will now turn to Parliamentary arithmetic once again, with all discussion over the next few days sure to be focussed around whether the Government will be able to rustle up enough votes to pass this deal, and where we go next if it can’t.
To get to the bottom of this - Parliament will vote on the deal during an historic Saturday sitting tomorrow, the first time it has done so since the Falklands War in 1982.
As far as the insurance industry is concerned, it’s clear that at the moment other priorities reign supreme.
What is concerning though when it comes to whiplash, is that this seems to be true even away from the House of Commons chamber, and into the committee corridors, industry events and meeting rooms where so much of Government policy is shaped.
When the Justice Committee questioned Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland earlier this week, there was no mention of whiplash reforms, with MPs focussing on sentencing, prisons, the Ministry of Justice’s budget and, unsurprisingly, Brexit.
What is more – at recent industry events this week, Ministry of Justice (MoJ) spokespeople reiterated that although April 2020 remains the implementation target, it’s important to get the reforms right and not rushed. These sentiments have been echoed by stakeholders just this week, with the Chair of MASS (Motor Accidents Solicitors Society) publicly calling for these reforms to be delayed.
Of course, it’s important to remember that there is a lot of work ongoing that is not always visible. The MoJ assure us that there is a lot of activity and positive progress being made towards an April launch. However, with a number of known issues that remain outstanding, and with the rules seemingly not coming off the production line until the New Year, it’s only natural for insurers to wonder how long this target date will remain.