Volkswagen could face further UK probe over emissions scandal, says minister


A further investigation into Volkswagen over its emissions scandal is not being ruled out by the Government, a transport minister has said.

The car manufacturer admitted in September 2015 that 482,000 of its diesel vehicles in the US were fitted with software to switch engines to a cleaner mode when they were being tested for emissions, with 11 million vehicles affected worldwide including almost 1.2 million in the UK.

Volkswagen has agreed a 15 billion US dollar (£12.3 billion) settlement for motorists in the US but has faced criticism for not offering similar payouts in the UK.

Transport minister John Hayes told MPs on Thursday that the Government is considering what further steps it can take.

He said: "Volkswagen need to do more which is why I am going to meet them at the beginning of next week to tell them exactly that and why I insisted that they pay the £1.1 million which I received on Christmas Eve.

"I demanded it as a Christmas present because that was the money that taxpayers had to spend as a result of their emissions scandal."

Volkswagen has pleaded guilty to three criminal charges in the US relating to the scandal and will pay a 4.3 billion US dollar (£3.5 billion) penalty.

Labour's Nick Smith (Blaenau Gwent) asked Mr Hayes during transport questions whether any Volkswagen executives could face similar charges in the UK.

The minister replied: "I hold no candle for those businesses that don't do right by consumers or, by the way, by their workers, and I consider that the actions that have taken place in the US, which I guess is what you are referring to, and the actions that are being considered by Volkswagen customers oblige the Government to think again about what further steps we can take and we are doing so.

"I haven't ruled out a further investigation and I will be discussing that with the Secretary of State and raising it with Volkswagen at the meeting I described."

Shadow transport minister Pat Glass said Volkswagen owners in the UK were being treated "unfairly" compared with their counterparts in the US and that VW drivers feel "badly let down" because "it appears that the Government is letting VW off the hook".

Mr Hayes said: "I think we should consider further steps and, having considered them as necessary, where necessary, take them."