This morning DVSA announced a consultation to increase fees by 1.5% across all their services, including the MOT slot fee, and all other fees they charge, which includes driving test fees, and what they charge Authorised test centres for HGVs and Buses when DVSA staff conduct HGV MOT Tests at those Authorised sites.
But what about the MOT fee?
Historically, when DVSA (and VOSA before the name changed to DVSA), increased their fees, the MOT fee was often increased at the same time. In the proposed consultation for DVSA’s increases however, there is no mention of a counterpart increase in the MOT fee so it’s probably safe to assume the MOT will remain frozen, as it has been since 2010.
DVSA’s response, when we formally asked if there will be an accompanying increase proposed for the MOT fee, was “… nothing is currently happening with the fees that MOT garages can charge (current max £54.85)“.
MOT fee freeze
Unlike the DVSA the MOT Testing businesses are unable to unilaterally declare an increase in the current MOT fee of £54.85, which has remained unchanged since April 2010 – it can only be increased by the Department for Transport and informed to Testing Stations by DVSA.
In a piece mainly concerned with car repair and servicing hourly rates charged by independent garages published by the Independent Garage Association in 2012, they noted that the bank of England inflation rate between 2012 and November 2020, when the report was published, averaged 2.5% per annum. Taking the net value of the MOT to a Testing garage of £52.80 (after DVSA’s £2.05 slot fee is deducted), such an inflationary increase since 2012 would place the MOT fee at close to £70 for this year, and even higher if the calculation went back to 2010.
Even if an MOT increase were set at the 1.5% being claimed by the DVSA for their services, it would increase the MOT (including an extra 3p increase in the slot fee), to £55.67 – a net increase for garages of 82 pence per test. Hardly an adequate increase to account for inflation over the 11+ years since the last increase in April 2010. Since there has been no corresponding increase in the official MOT fee MOT businesses are allowed to charge customers, this in effect means there has been a 3p decrease per Test in MOT revenue for garages.
In the past, when our Editor was Chairman of the MOT Trade Forum negotiating with Government Officials to increase the MOT fee in line with inflation, DVSA always cited widespread discounting of the MOT, coupled with more and more garages applying to become Testing Stations, as the main justification for freezing the fee.
Sadly this argument probably still holds good within the corridors of power in Westminster where these matters are decided. We do sometimes wonder, however, whether or not the Senior Executives within DVSA also say the same when advising Government Ministers on the subject.
Should you wish to respond to the consultation on DVSA’s desire to increase their fees, if you visit their website, the DVSA consultation lasts until 2nd of September this year.