Government denial of an impending MOT tester shortage has been slammed by the United Kingdom's Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI).

Addressing parliament recently, parliamentary under-secretary of state for transport David Jamison refuted that there is any need to recruit more MOT testers, who conduct annual safety and emissions tests on light vehicles aged three years and over. A valid MOT certificate is essential before a vehicle can legally be taxed for use on UK roads.

"There is no evidence to suggest that there is a shortage of qualified MOT testers," Jamison reportedly said, adding: "Currently there are around 19,500 MOT testing stations with 50,000 testers. There is no restriction on the number of garages that can apply to become MOT testing stations and, once designated, garages can employ as many MOT testers as they wish."

But RMI head of MOT and technical operations Ian Davis-Knight disagrees. "Despite what the minister may believe, there is a shortage of testers. I am constantly being asked by garages if I know of any available MOT testers. We feel that in the next five years this problem will become more acute due to the retirement of many of the older generation of testers, and the lack of new testers training up to replace them," he said.

"The long term prospects for testing are not good. We might have 50,000 testers at the moment, but unless more are recruited, natural wastage could cause this number to drop fast."

Davis-Knight added: "We must not wait until we are in a situation where testers have become [more rare]. Now is the time to encourage young people into testing via apprenticeships and a clearer training route."

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