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Staff to lose jobs as Government confirms closure of Carlisle DVLA

Ten staff will lose their jobs after the Government confirmed it is closing the Carlisle DVLA office despite wide-spread opposition.

DVLA staff photo
Michelle Muir, union rep and Carlisle DVLA employe

The city office, at Parkhouse Business Park, Kingstown, is one of 39 local offices being shut down as part of national cost-cutting plans.

Instead services will be centralised in Swansea.

Staff have been fighting against the proposed closure, backed by many local car dealers and customers.

But yesterday lunchtime bosses closed the office for a special staff meeting.

They announced that the closures would go ahead as planned in December 2013. Staff at other offices nationally were told of the news at the same time.

Michelle Muir, Public and Commercial Services Union representative at the Carlisle branch, said she couldn’t understand the decision.

“It is a huge blow. The response we had to the consultation was overwhelming – 79 per cent of people who responded to the DVLA were in opposition. But they are still going ahead with it. We’re stunned,” she said.

“This is going to seriously affect customer turnaround. At the moment you can walk in and walk out with a tax disc within five minutes.”

The DVLA office deals with personalised registration plates, trade plates and complicated tax queries. The Government argues this work could be done via the internet or an automated phone service, estimating such a move would save £26m a year.

But Miss Muir believes that the savings do not justify the loss of local service, particularly to the motor trade.

She added that despite the announcement, the PCS has not given up the fight.

“It’s still early days. We have put in this effort not just for our jobs but because we know we provide a vital service.”

She added that the DVLA will still lose money on building leases and IT contracts.

The 10 staff at the Carlisle centre, along with about 1,200 nationally, will now be made redundant at the end of next year. Some could be offered moves to Swansea or be re-deployed elsewhere in the public sector, but Miss Muir said for most this is unlikely.

“A lot of our staff in our office have been there a long time,” she explained.

“The whole public sector is being hit by austerity cuts. In this area there is a less than five per cent chance of redeployment. There is some room at Swansea but you are talking about a massive relocation.”

Roads Minister Mike Penning insisted the DVLA reforms would provide a better, quicker service for motorists, with services centralised and more transactions available online.

He said: “These changes – developed after carefully listening to views expressed at consultation – will ensure the agency delivers a smarter service to bring real benefits for the motor industry and every motorist in this country.”

Have your say

Michelle doesnt like it, but I know many of the staff who are now over the moon that they are going to get their redundancy. This has been coming for some time. It was coming long before the elections in may 2010.
As more and more services move to the internet, the residuals can move to the post office.

That isnt to denigrate the staff in any way, but they know as well as everyone else that the time spent twiddling thumbs is not worth it.

It is always sad to see people lose their jobs, but the only cork popping will be amongst the staff at DVLA who have been offered generous packages (and rightly so).

Posted by Jim on 31 October 2012 at 20:48

How can Swansea deal with everything. What about when you need to change the Taxation class? For this you have to go into an office. How can someone up north travel to Swansea. It is already a great distance for people in the Borders to go to Carlise or Edinurgh but it is impossible to travel any further. David Cameron thinks everyone has access to the internet, or likes using automated 'phones. Wake up David & become part of the real world.Carlise Office is so easy to find & park that we use this office instead of the edinburgh Office, which is a nightmare to get to.More & more people are loosing their jobs & I would have thought this Government would be trying to save as many as they can & not just keep adding to unemployment.Especially in areas where jobs are very limited. I notice that if any cuts are to be made by this Government & the last, it is never down South or around London but in the North, causing more hardship for the people who are already struggling to make ends meet.Politicians have no idea what its like for ordinary people, either that or they just donot care.
They do not care in the least what the public wants, even thoug we all pay their huge wages.Shame on David Cameron & his pals.He is likely to loose a lot of his voters if he carries on causeing hardship to so many. Enoy your term in office as I doubt you will get another.You have no idea of what its like to struggle to survive, but who know what the future holds for any of us.

Posted by M.Hooper on 31 October 2012 at 17:18

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