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Grant postpones whiplash crackdown

Impact of Jackson reforms 'needs to be assessed'

17 May 2013

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Justice minister Helen Grant has announced that the government's plans to cut whiplash claims will be postponed until after the transport select committee delivers its verdict this summer.

Among the proposals are an increase in the small claims limit for whiplash cases to up to £5,000 and the introduction of examinations by independent medical experts.

The government's consultation on whiplash was launched in December and it was due to respond this spring.

In a written statement to the Commons yesterday, Grant said: "The government believes that, prior to taking any final decisions on whiplash reform, it should give due consideration to the views of the transport committee.

"The government also believes that the impact of its recent civil reform programme on the price of motor insurance premiums needs to be assessed. Consumers should be rewarded with the lower litigation costs being reflected in lower insurance premiums.

"For these reasons the government has decided to defer publication of its formal response to the consultation until after the committee has reported."

Grant said the transport select committee's inquiry into whiplash claims included "an examination of the government's consultation proposals."

The select committee announced its inquiry last month, and is not due to publish its report until the summer. Hearings will continue next week.

Launching the inquiry, Louise Ellman MP, chair of the select committee and Labour/Co-operative MP for Liverpool Riverside, said: "Whiplash claims undoubtedly play a part in driving up the cost of motor insurance, but access to justice for injured people must be preserved.

"We want to hear the arguments on these points and will publish a report in the summer about the best way forward on this difficult issue."

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