@David, Welcome to the TAI
Like in US, MOT is necessary in UK as well, and cost around 100 pounds (My friend in UK told me so, could be correct figure.) And I feel that because of the strict implementation on Law for MOTs, I see the condition of old vehicles in UK, is really good and they are upto the mark be it vehicle used for personal use or for public use.
It will be long time before such things could be a reality over here in India. Though some measures like PUC (Pollution control check) are been implemented, a strict vehicle maintainence check is not mandatory.