Dáil Éireann - Volume 531 - 22 February, 2001

Written Answers. - National Car Test.

48. Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if he will [414] consider the difficulties faced by senior citizens in meeting the cost of the national car test; if he will consider a scheme to reduce the cost for senior citizens; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5163/01]

Minister for the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Dempsey): As indicated in reply to Question No. 389 of 24 October 2000, the framework for the national car test, NCT, which was decided by the previous Government and continued by this Government, involves its operation on a public private partnership and self-financing basis. The NCT is required under EU legislation to provide virtually universal coverage of private vehicles; accordingly only minimal exemptions have been granted from its scope.

The contract for the NCT has been awarded on a competitive basis so as to ensure a high level of service and value for money to its users. In accordance with the contract, the costs of operation of the national car testing service are met by way of charges for tests and for re-tests that require the use of equipment in a test centre.

Private motoring costs have not in the past received public subsidies, apart from the reliefs of VAT-VRT, motor tax and fuel tax afforded for the benefit of persons with disabilities. I do not consider that the introduction and operation of the National Car Test justifies a departure from the well established principle of non-subsidy of private motoring costs, and I do not accordingly envisage a change in present arrangements.

Question No. 49 answered with Question No. 38.