Insurers are squeezing London's car body repair industry to the brink of chaos according to Ken Lane, managing director of Nationwide Crash Repair Centres.

Speaking at the Retail Motor Industry accident repair specialists meeting on November 10, Lane said insurers' unwillingness to pay any more to the car body repairers was causing many employees to defect to other sectors.

Lane said: "The situation in London has reached crisis point. Current labour rates paid by insurance companies and work providers simply do not sustain the service demands and soaring overhead costs occurring in this high-cost area."

Lane's views were echoed by other speakers at the event. Bob Hood, the RMI's bodyshop services manager, said: "My concern is two-fold. Firstly, for the livelihood of my body repair members and secondly for the motoring public. The situation in and around the capital is extremely serious for accident repair specialists and for consumers and something has to be done about it."