An incoming Tory government would reduce the cost of car insurance premiums by ‘cracking down on exaggerated and fraudulent’ whiplash claims and consider a ban on personal injury cold calling.
The pledges were made in the party’s manifesto, published today (18 May).
Simon Trott, managing director of National Accident Helpline and a founding member of the Ethical Marketing Charter, hailed the Conservatives’ decision on combatting nuisance calls.
‘We’ve long called for this as part of the Ethical Marketing Charter which has been actively making the case to government and regulators to stamp out cold calls.
‘But there’s still more to do to protect consumers from other forms of nuisance marketing, such as through texts and emails. We urge the next government to introduce a ban on all forms of unsolicited marketing to ensure they’re a tactic of the past.’
Elsewhere, the manifesto promises the appointment of an ‘Independent Public Advocate’ to act for bereaved families following a public disaster and support them at a public inquest.
The pledge is aimed at ensuring ‘the pain and suffering’ of the Hillsborough families ‘is not repeated’.
The Conservatives also pledged to enshrine ‘victims’ entitlements’ in law, to make clear to victims of crime what level of service they can expect from the police, courts, and criminal justice system.
Publicly-funded lawyers will be required to undertake ‘specialist training’ in the handling of victims before taking on sexual offences cases.
Highlighting that legal services are ‘a major British export’ that ‘underpin our professional services sector’, the Tories promised to continue to modernising the court estate by improving buildings and facilities for the benefit of court users.
Over £1bn will also be invested to modernise the prison estate, creating 10,000 more prison places.
The Conservatives also pledged to dismantle the UK’s Serious Fraud Office and roll it into the wider National Crime Agency if they win June’s general election.
David Corker, a partner at Corker Binning, described the plan as ‘a pity’. ‘Under its current director [David Green CB QC], the SFO is proving its effectiveness as a specialist economic crime enforcer. Its work on overseas bribery and raising corporate standards in that regard is world-class.
‘The NCA has not yet proved its effectiveness and there is a great danger that the fight against fraud would be compromised if the SFO’s work was absorbed into its broad remit.’
The Tories also promise to ‘strengthen legal services regulation and restrict legal aid for unscrupulous law firms that issue vexatious legal claims against the armed forces’. It was also announced that UK troops will in future not be subject to European Court of Human Rights.
The EU charter of fundamental rights will not be re-enacted. However, the UK will remain a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights during the next parliament, and, in a surprise U-turn, the Human Rights Act will not be repealed during the Brexit process.