Public and Commercial Services Union
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Leaked memo exposes ideology behind government cuts

A memo leaked to PCS reveals the government is planning to close almost all local vehicle licensing offices in the UK, threatening around 1,500 jobs.

The document suggests that up to 49 local offices of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency could be closed, with the vast majority of the agency’s functions centralised at its headquarters in Swansea.

This would mean tens of thousands of people would have to deal with vehicle licensing and registration problems by telephone, post or electronically. Registration delays could increase costs to an already hard-pressed motor trade, while many hauliers would face longer journeys to pick up tachographs essential for them to comply with legislation.

The memo indicates that DVLA enforcement staff, who have been responsible for massive cuts in road tax evasion rates, will be expected to set up the new rules on uninsured vehicles, before being replaced by a new, specially-recruited workforce. The plans would mean more uninsured vehicles remain on our roads, the union says.

The union has demanded immediate talks with transport ministers and has pledged to fight the closure plans, saying any compulsory redundancies could lead to industrial action

The union has demanded immediate talks with transport ministers and has pledged to fight the closure plans, saying any compulsory redundancies could lead to industrial action. PCS is also seeking a meeting with Treasury officials who are threatening to raid the surpluses built up by the DVLA by removing its trading fund status.

Mike Hallinan, PCS negotiations officer for DVLA, said: “It appears that hard-working enforcement staff would be expected to sort out the teething problems associated with the new legislation, only to be told ‘thank you, but goodbye’.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This is a prime example of how public sector cuts are more about ideology than necessity. The DVLA is self-financing and holds reserves of more than £180 million.

“The staff have proven time and again that they are highly efficient, but the government now plans to throw almost 1,500 skilled workers on the scrapheap.”