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Personal Injury Law

Volume 611: debated on Tuesday 14 June 2016

16. What assessment he has made of the potential effect of planned changes to personal injury law and whiplash claims on access to justice. (905400)

The Government remain concerned about the number and cost of whiplash claims, particularly their impact on insurance premiums, and have announced robust new measures to tackle the problem. We will consult on the detail in due course, and the consultation will be accompanied by a thorough impact assessment.

How does the Minister respond to my constituents who have genuine concerns about the evidence base for the proposed reforms, and believe that they are unjust and will not deliver the right and proper compensation for people who were injured through negligence?

The Government’s proposed reforms will ensure that the current cost of £2 billion annually for whiplash claims should be reduced to £1 billion for the insurance industry. They will also ensure that the average person’s insurance premium should go down by up to £50.

In the UK, 80% of road traffic accidents generate a whiplash claim; in France, 3% of road traffic accidents generate a whiplash claim. In the UK, whiplash claims are increasing as accidents decrease; in France, it is the other way round. Insurance premiums in the UK are 50% higher, meaning that many young people cannot afford insurance. Will the Government act to get this sorted out?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for making that point. He is absolutely right to say that it is important, to benefit all our constituents, that we deal with this. The way to do so is through our proposed reforms, on which there will be a consultation in the not-too-distant future. That will ensure that premiums go down.