Mike Penning, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport

The government has pledged its support for classic and veteran cars. Recent legislation proposals, including changes to the MOT system, have caused unrest among historic car owners.

However, speaking at the unveiling of a research document into the use and benefits of historic vehicles, which revealed the industry is worth more than £4 billion to the economy, Mike Penning, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, said: "There are no plans whatsoever to restrict the use of classic or vintage vehicles on our roads.

"For me, they are part of our heritage, and so long as I am in charge I will protect that heritage. I want to protect and encourage the use of these cars on our roads."

Penning, who took part in this year's London-to-Brighton run alongside Nigel Mansell, added that proposed changes to the MOT system were being driven by European legislation.

"If we were in charge of our own destiny, it would not be an issue," he said. "But Europe has a slightly different view, and we must take steps with them first before addressing the issues that arise from that."

The research document, produced by the Historic Vehicle Research Institute and called "The British Historic Vehicle Movement", also revealed that the historic car industry employs 28,000 people in the UK, that historic vehicles drive just 0.24% of miles driven by cars in the UK each year and that 68% of historic vehicles in the UK are worth less than £10,000.

The study considered all cars 30 years old or more to be classified as historic.

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