PCS says Mike Penning made series of errors in trying to justify closure of DVLA offices



A transport minister is being urged by the PCS to correct a “catalogue of false claims” he made in Parliament to justify office closure plans.

Speaking on March 7th in a Westminster Hall debate about plans to shut all 39 of the DVLA’s UK registration offices, Mike Penning made a series of errors.

Talking about prosecutions against drivers for non-payment of road tax, he claimed “most prosecutions are done through Swansea” or through “technology”.

In fact, according to official figures only 1.4% of cases were heard in Swansea. Almost all enforcement casework is processed in the local offices the government is trying to close, and all prosecutions that go through the Swansea courts are dealt with in Bournemouth.

Among other errors, Mr Penning also: incorrectly DVLA stated that the 2.4 million people who use the offices every year “equates to less than 6% of DVLA transactions”; and wrongly attributed much of the success in keeping the non-payment of road tax down to 1% to the use of automatic number plate recognition system.

Plans to close the offices threaten 1,200 jobs. The union is opposed to the closures because they will remove well-used and respected face to face services staff provide to the public and the motor trade, and further damage local economies already suffering from cuts.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Not only has Mr Penning misled MPs with this catalogue of false claims, he’s sought to justify closure plans that will severely undermine the public services staff provide and further damage local economies crying out for investment, not more cuts.

“This casts serious doubt over the government’s recent consultation on the plans, and the minister should not only correct these errors at the earliest opportunity, he should also explain to what extent his misunderstanding of the key issues has clouded his judgement.”

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