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Volume 447: debated on Tuesday 13 June 2006

8. What recent discussions he has had with trade unions on employment issues in the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. (76581)

The DVLA has ongoing and regular discussions with the trade unions on all issues affecting the agency and its staff, in line with its partnership agreement. The most recent meeting took place between the chief executive and Public and Commercial Services Union officers at national and local level on 1 June, when they were brought up to date with the agency’s resourcing plans to March 2008.

I thank my hon. Friend for his answer, and for the opportunity to meet him to discuss this matter. He is aware that several of my constituents have written to me to say that they do not wish their jobs to be outsourced to a private company, but want to remain within the DVLA doing the job that they are doing very well. Will he ensure that when he next meets the director of the DVLA he will make those representations to him on my behalf and that of the union?

First, it is important that I stress that no decisions have been made as yet. It is essential that we review these matters from time to time. All the agencies make sure that they are getting the most cost-effective use of the funds and resources that they are given. I am meeting the chief executive tomorrow, and I will certainly ensure that the views expressed by my hon. Friend are made known to him.

Is the Minister aware that UK British citizens living in Northern Ireland continue to experience problems because their driving licences are not issued by the DVLA in Great Britain, which means that they are being discriminated against as regards penalty points, the recognition of their driving licences and the registration of their vehicles? Will he work with his colleague in Northern Ireland to end that anomaly?

I am aware of the anomaly, and I am talking to my colleagues in Northern Ireland about it. If the hon. Gentleman wishes to provide me with further evidence of the problems facing his constituents, I shall be grateful to receive it.