Call to retain and develop DVA jobs

Published Wednesday, 11 December 2013
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The Mayor of Coleraine has called for the Westminster government to retain driver vehicle licensing jobs in Northern Ireland and improve the services available at its local offices.

Around 300 jobs are at risk after the Westminster government announced a consultation process to centralise jobs in Wales.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency revealed in December 2011 that it was considering shutting down its 39 centres and basing all its services in the Welsh city of Cardiff.

The Northern Ireland base in Coleraine and seven other offices across Northern Ireland are affected.

The Department of Transport in London claims the move will save tax payers millions of pounds.

A delegation of MPs, MLAs and councillors as well as business, union and staff representatives have travelled to Westminster to meet with Department of Transport officials to discuss the impact the loss will have in the area.

They will present a petition of over 40,000 signatures asking for the jobs to be retained to officials.

Mayor of Coleraine, councillor David Harding, said the closure of the centre will have a devastating impact on the region.

He told UTV: "It's a very, very significant impact on the economy of Coleraine and not something we can accept.

"We will be lobbying the decision makers and presenting the facts to them directly.

"They have been surprised over the reaction this proposal has generated and we know this has had a significant impact."

He added: "We have support from right across the community, across the political parties and from every area of business and social life in the borough.

"We really feel this campaign has made a big difference so far and I think they had no concept of the level of support we have in the community.

"We know there has been a significant effect on the decision makers in Westminster.

These are 300 well paid jobs, it's not only their jobs it's the people who rely on the products and services they buy.

Mayor of Coleraine, David Harding

"They are arguing that with the internet there is no need for different offices, but we are arguing the opposite.

"There is no need to centralise jobs, we have the fastest internet connection going directly into our borough, so there is no need to move services to Wales and we have no problems competing with other areas.

"We are not just saying we want to save these jobs, we want to develop the services available in Coleraine. We feel we are uniquely placed to provide services for a much wider area than just Northern Ireland.

"This is totally unfair to the people involved especially in the run up to Christmas."

SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan raised the subject during Prime Minister's Questions.

He asked: "The Prime Minister said the G8 and the recent investment conference would advertise Northern Ireland and promote the economy.

"How does Whitehall taking jobs from DVA offices and HMRC jobs contribute to the economy of Northern Ireland?"

Prime Minister, David Cameron responded: "Employment has actually risen in Northern Ireland recently.

"However, the long term answer for Northern Ireland's economy is through investment from the private sector.

"Northern Ireland's public sector is actually quite large and what the economy needs is investment from small and medium enterprise and that was what the investment conference was about."

© UTV News
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4 Comments
Jamesbelfast in Belfast wrote (129 days ago):
I agree with Dave from Belfast. It would be a shame to lose these jobs but in my opinion the department in question is inefficient and does not best serve the motorists of Northern Ireland. For instance I phoned Coleraine 14 days ago requesting a particular form - it arrived today and is was post marked 2 days ago. In other words it took 12 days for them to act. Yet when I go to the UK DVLA website I can download a similar form in seconds from their website. Sorry folks it's not just good enough these days. If the service remains within Northern Ireland it will have to improve dramatically.
Ray in Dundonald wrote (131 days ago):
Seems like they want to move every job to Derry maybe the MLA,s can go there to seeing it,s good enough for everyone else.
Gak in Newcastle wrote (131 days ago):
Close it now! One location for the UK.Get rid of the bank notes, Bank of England only.
Dave in Belfast wrote (131 days ago):
Whilst it would be a terrible thing to lose so many jobs, surely centralising this service and being able to provide the functionality of taxing your car online (which has been available in mainland UK for years) amongst many other things would make more sense?
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