VOLKSWAGEN bosses have been ‘summoned’ to a meeting with ministers to explain why UK customers affected by the diesel scandal have not been compensated.
The Department for Transport (DfT) insists the lack of a payout is unacceptable.
Consumers in the US whose vehicles were fitted with software to cheat emissions tests are being compensated with up to 10,000 US dollars (£8,200), but there are no plans to give anything to UK customers.
Volkswagen bosses have previously said there are significant differences in the circumstances on either side of the Atlantic because of separate regulations in vehicle standards.
But DfT officials, responding to a report by the Commons’ Transport Select Committee, wrote that the government ‘strongly agrees’ that the treatment of UK consumers ‘has not been acceptable’ and that vehicle owners should be compensated for the ‘inconvenience, uncertainty and worry caused by Volkswagen’s cheating’.
They said: ‘We also find it unacceptable that Volkswagen have avoided this issue for so long and have failed to adequately engage with their customers on this matter and respond to their valid concerns.
‘Ministers have summoned Volkswagen UK to a further meeting in order to reiterate these views and remind Volkswagen that they expect the company to treat UK consumers fairly.’
Labour MP Louise Ellman, chairwoman of the Transport Select Committee, said she was pleased that the DfT had ‘promised to fight for the compensation that over a million UK Volkswagen customers deserve’.
On the question of whether Volkswagen will be prosecuted in the UK, the DfT said that the government wanted to ensure that the firm ‘faces appropriate legal consequences’.
The DfT response stated: ‘Prosecuting authorities from across Europe have met to discuss and co-ordinate their investigations.
‘DfT officials have been part of those co-ordinating efforts and continue to monitor the progress of those investigations.’ It added: ‘We have not ruled out opening our own investigation.’
It emerged last month that only around one in 10 UK Volkswagen vehicles fitted with the controversial software was fixed in the year since the scandal broke.
The firm told the Press Association that ‘over 110,000 vehicles in the UK’ had undergone remedial action, out of the 1.2 million affected.
The controversy began on September 18 last year when US regulators told VW to recall 482,000 diesel cars after discovering they contained illegal defeat devices. The Environmental Protection Agency said the software allowed cars to release fewer smog-causing pollutants during tests than in real-world driving conditions.
Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire
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