The Government has backed down on plans to force all dog owners to insure their pet against damage caused by it attacking someone else. The climbdown comes just a week after the scheme was announced.
The plan had come under widespread criticism, including a Conservative party poster using the Churchill insurance advert character, dubbing the measure a dog tax. Insurers dubbed the scheme unworkable, saying few firms would be willing to offer cover at affordable rates.
Environment secretary Hilary Benn said "We can rule out compulsory insurance for all dogs. The idea of compulsory insurance was something that was raised with us because of the horrific injuries some very dangerous dogs can cause... We don't want to penalise the vast majority of responsible dog owners because they're just as concerned as everybody else about that small minority who mistreat dogs, get them involved in dog fighting or use dogs as weapons."
He noted that the Government might still bring in powers for a court to order owners of a dog involved in an attack to get pet insurance against future incidents.
An Association of British Insurers spokesman warned this week against bringing the plan back in any form. Nick Starling said compulsory insurance could often be difficult to enforce as the people it targeted most were the ones least likely to follow the law.