30/06/2005

Concern over DVLNI Coleraine operation

Speculation is growing that the Driver and Vehicle Licensing office in Coleraine could be transferred to the agency's national headquarters in Swansea.

With fears that 400 jobs could be axed as a result of such a move, DUP MP for East Londonderry Gregory Campbell said he would be looking for an explanation from the Government on the rumours.

"I am seeking immediate clarification as to whether the government is trying to close the DVLNI operation in Northern Ireland and transfer its functions to Swansea," Mr Campbell said.

"Over 400 people are currently employed at the agency in Coleraine and if such a transfer were to take place then the resultant job loss would devastate the local economy with a loss of wages and salaries of between £8 million and £10 million.”

The Federation of Small Businesses has also reacted angrily to speculation saying such a move could hit the length of time it takes to get a licence and therefore adversely affect its members who run Driving schools in Northern Ireland.

FSB Spokesperson Kieran McShane, who also runs A1 Training Driving School in North Down, said: “If the Government are considering this, then they should really think again as it will result in greater delays in people getting licences and mean that Driver Training schools are unable to begin courses and lose business.

“Given that we are already still trying to get through the backlog of driving tests caused by last years NIPSA strike, then this move could be the last straw for some of our members and mean they will have to close.”

The proposal to merge all the vehicle divisions throughout the UK is understood to have originated from DVLA HQ in Swansea as a means to make efficiency savings.

(MB/SP)

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