SNP Westminster Transport spokesperson and Na h-Eileanan an MP Angus MacNeil today (Tuesday) called for assurances that there will be a ‘genuine consultation’ following today’s announcement by the UK Department for Transport of plans to close 39 regional DVLA offices, including five in Scotland, with the loss of more than 1200 jobs.

Mr MacNeil said:

“Just weeks before Christmas this a bitter blow for the DVLA workforce and we must have a guarantee that this is a genuine consultation by the Department for Transport.

“The closure of all five of Scotland’s regional DVLA offices would be totally unacceptable, throwing away years of staff knowledge and expertise, and diminishing important services which are paid for by Scottish taxpayers.

“Talk, by Ministers, of making more transactions available online is not an answer for people in rural areas who do not have access to super-fast broadband, or in some cases broadband at all, so the centralisation of services would hit the Highlands and Islands especially hard.

“When people want services delivered closer to home it is wrongheaded for the UK Government to keep centralising services. We hear a lot of talk about the big society and localism from the Coalition Government, but we have to see much more evidence of decentralisation or dispersal when it comes to jobs by the Coalition Government.”

“UK Ministers must think again over this ill-timed and ill-conceived announcement.”