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Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

Volume 708: debated on Thursday 3 February 2022

2. What recent assessment he has made of challenges facing driving licence and other services at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. (905398)

Online services continue to operate normally. The DVLA has introduced new online services, recruited extra staff and secured extra premises.

I know that this is reflected right across the House. One of those complaints came from Greta. Greta has ill health, she is disabled and she is reliant on her vehicle. Will the Minister intervene? Let us turbocharge this process, not only for my constituents, but for those of Members right across the House.

I assure the House that online applications are not subject to delays and customers usually receive the documents within two to three days. We strongly encourage customers to use online services where possible. I pay tribute to the DVLA staff who have worked overtime and provided extra resources and extra sites. I am pleased to say that of the 36 cases the hon. Gentleman submitted, 32 have been closed, and I am following up the remaining four.

Does my hon. Friend agree that the Government’s investment of £96 billion in the railways is the biggest investment in the rail network ever? By reinstating the Northumberland line running through Blyth Valley to Newcastle—

Order. That is not related to the question about the DVLA. [Interruption.] One of us will have to sit down and I am not sitting down. I am sorry, but that is not even linked to the question. Supplementary questions must be linked to the original question tabled.

In my constituency there is huge dependency on the private car. Given the huge backlogs arising in the DVLA, and the similar backlogs at the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, many young people are being deprived of their independence and find themselves isolated both socially and from work and education opportunities. In the light of this situation, the recent DVSA decision to close Whitchurch driving test centre is a hammer blow to people who want only to improve their quality of life. Will the Secretary of State commit to keeping this important facility open and thereby removing the necessity of people paying for double lessons and driving for an additional hour just to practise or attend a test?

I am more than happy to meet the hon. Member to discuss the matter in detail. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency is working hard to increase driving test availability by recruiting more driving examiners, offering out-of-hours tests and asking all those who are qualified to conduct tests to do so. I reiterate my willingness to meet the hon. Lady.