Belfast Telegraph

Religious discrimination reference in DVLA consultation outrageous - Durkan

Stormont Executive press release - Department of the Environment

Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan today stated he was absolutely amazed with the reference to religious discrimination in the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) consultation about vehicle licensing jobs in Northern Ireland.

The UK government is proposing to move over 300 jobs, based in Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland to DVLA in Swansea.

In their consultation, they state the following: “centralisation at the DVLA will in fact remove any possibility that Northern Ireland services may be biased to any particular religious group, since these transactions will no longer be serviced by staff based in NI, who could themselves hold particular beliefs.”

Mark H Durkan said: “Hundreds of DOE staff in Coleraine face a very anxious time with the real threat of jobs being lost. To propose to transfer their jobs from Coleraine to Swansea is very painful. This reference to removing possible discrimination has added insult to injury for staff in DVA.

“The implication that there could be any bias by staff in DVA in the delivery of services to customers is outrageous. Staff in DVA have an exemplary record of the highest possible standards of service to all customers. This totally inappropriate comment by DVLA is reflective of the poor quality of this consultation. Not only is it wrong that a consultation on such an important matter is being carried out in the middle of summer and for the shortest possible period of eight weeks, the whole exercise is one-sided, amounting more to a statement of intention by DVLA , rather than a proper and meaningful consultation that sets out, and seeks opinions on, all the possible options for the future delivery of vehicle licensing services in Northern Ireland. Remember also that we had to do a lot of work to convince them to even consult.

“Staff in DVA and the motoring public in Northern Ireland can rest assured that I intend to continue to oppose the UK Government’s proposals to take away choice and high quality services and to remove over 300 jobs. Centralisation of motor tax services in Swansea would be an unnecessary attack on local services and on the local economy, especially in Coleraine where the majority of the jobs are based.

“It is very important that everyone concerned by DVLA’s plans to relocate all of this work in Swansea uses the opportunity of the public consultation to make their views known clearly and I encourage everyone to write to DVLA rejecting the removal of these high quality services and these local jobs.”

The consultation will run until 11 September 2013 and is available to view at

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