Environment Minister Alex Attwood has responded to the announcement at Westminster about the closure of DVLA’s local vehicle licensing offices.
Alex Attwood said: “I note that these office closures and job losses do not apply to Northern Ireland.
“The Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) will continue to deliver vehicle licensing services to motorists here from Coleraine and the seven other locations around Northern Ireland. I welcome the confirmation in the statement today by the Secretary of State for Transport that DVLA will continue to work to make the full range of vehicle licensing services available to customers here.
“Customers in Britain have been able to tax vehicles on line and to make greater use of Post Offices for vehicle licensing for a number of years and have had other benefits such as easier processes for transferring attractive registration marks.
“However, DVLA is also examining how vehicle licensing as such will be carried out here, once these new services become available. I have made it very clear to Ministers in London that there is no justification for reducing local jobs or services in Northern Ireland and I will oppose any plan to take work from here to Swansea. I have been able to show Ministers in London that DVA has an exceptional record in delivering high quality services and I have emphasised that this is not the time, in these very difficult economic conditions, to be cutting public sector jobs.
“I have made it clear that I acknowledge opportunities for change and the adoption of the new ways of delivering services to customers that the new technology will bring, and I have pointed out that the use of this technology is not a justification for cutting jobs here. Alongside bringing in new services for motorists, new technology could also be used to enable civil servants here to deliver a wide range of services across Britain. This already happens with one NI department providing services to customers in Britain. iI have argued and outlined to London how DOE can do the same.
“I am planning a further round of meetings with London Ministers at which I will be presenting a robust case for the retention of jobs and services here, and I have been assured that no decisions will be made about the future delivery of vehicle licensing in Northern Ireland until there has been further consultation. Next week I will meet the NI Secretary of State to discuss this matter. I will continue to vigorously make NI’s case.”