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Eight out of 10 PI jobs at risk from whiplash reforms

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More than 35,000 jobs may be at risk if the government’s whiplash proposals go through, a macroeconomics consultancy has claimed.

A Capital Economics report, commissioned by Access to Justice, said that eight out of 10 people directly employed in personal injury would be at risk of losing their jobs. In addition, personal injury activities support 40,000 jobs indirectly and adds £2.1bn to the economy.

The author of the report, Capital Economics' Mark Pragnell, said: "When considering not only the lawyers but all the other jobs that are supported by this work, we estimate that up to 77,000 jobs are at risk, many in locations where alternative jobs of similar value will be difficult to find.

"As well as analysing government statistics, we conducted a survey of over 160 law firms, including some of the biggest names in the market, which has provided unique and detailed insight into the economic contribution made by personal injury lawyers and other specialists.

"We are delighted to make this report available to ministers as, so far, the government's proposals have been developed without this understanding."

Martin Coyne, chairman of Access to Justice, said: "It is extraordinary that this government is planning to destroy an entire industry and the livelihoods of tens of thousands of ordinary people for the sake of a £40 saving which won't happen."

The Association of British Insurers has said however that in recent years £1.2bn in savings has been passed on to customers as a result of government reforms in the form of lower premiums.

The trade body said it backs the government plans for a "more proportionate" approach to dealing with minor whiplash-related personal injury claims, saying that reforms will help reduce insurance premiums for honest motorists and help to tackle compensation culture.

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