The MOT Trade Forum, an affiliation of UK garage industry groups is calling on minister of transport David Jamieson to change the fee structure for the MOT Test [a compulsory annual safety and emissions test for vehicles aged three years or older] in the interest of road safety, testing quality, and to reward conscientious motorists who maintain their vehicles in roadworthy condition.

They are urging the minister to amend the structure to introduce a reduced but mandatory fee and a new scale of re-test charges.

The forum comprises the vast majority of trade bodies and other organisations representing the interests of the UK's 19,500 MOT testing stations. They have proposed a complete overhaul of the test fee structure that would both reward motorists who keep their vehicles in good condition and encourage those running badly maintained and potentially dangerous vehicles to improve their maintenance standards.

Based on extensive surveys amongst motorists conducted both by forum members themselves, and by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), the government agency responsible for the MOT testing scheme, the MOT trade thinks that these proposals will result in widespread benefits in terms of road safety, improving test quality and consistency and the ability of the industry to develop and train quality staff in the future.

A discount off the current fee for the 65% of motorists whose cars pass the MOT first time will ensure a fairer testing regime, they suggest.

A forum spokesman said: "The MOT is the only statutory government service provided by third parties that is subject to discounting. Although most garages charge the full fee, 80% or more offer a free re-test. Discounting costs about £17,000 a year for every testing station, depriving them of funding for re-investment and to install the latest test equipment. Also, of vital importance, is improved and ongoing training of staff."