HL Deb 02 November 2000 vol 618 cc1167-8

(" .—(1) In section 92 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, after subsection (9) there is inserted—

"(9A) This section does not apply to a licence issued under the provisions of section 97(1)(e) of this Act."

(2) In section 97 of that Act, after subsection (1)(d) there is inserted— (e) requires a licence that at the time of issue does not authorise him to drive any class of vehicle,

(3) In section 98 of that Act, after subsection (1)(d) there is inserted— (e) if issued under section 97(1)(e) of this Act, not authorise any class of vehicle that can be driven".").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, the DVLA now issues driving licences of similar size to a credit card and with a photograph incorporated. This type of licence will be useful as a form of identification as well as a driving licence. In certain states in the USA it is possible to be granted a driving licence which provides no entitlement to drive a vehicle. In the US, a driving licence is the de facto ID card. Does the Minister see the UK as heading that way, or are we doing something different? What is the long-term policy in this country?

A person who is severely disabled may not be able to be granted any driving licence. In the future, that would put him at a disadvantage compared to the rest of society. However, I suspect that the Minister would have less sympathy for someone who was disqualified. I beg to move.

Lord Whitty

My Lords, the noble Earl asks what is our long-term policy. It is that a driving licence is a driving licence. The driving licence is an entitlement to drive, not an identity card.

The move to a card-style driving licence, while it will take time to work through the system, will provide standardisation and will make matters much more convenient but it should not be regarded as an overriding identity card. I know that certain noble Lords on all Benches except the Liberal Democrat Benches would like to see identity cards. That is not the Government's policy and it is not one that we intend to introduce by stealth, as noble Lords opposite might say, by enhancing the role of the driving licence. Our priority is to enforce licensing law and prevent unlicensed driving—not to turn a driving licence into an identity card. Therefore, I am afraid that I do not sympathise with the amendment.

Earl Attlee

My Lords, I thank the Minister for his response. I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 315 and 315A not moved.]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 316: After Clause 257, insert the following new clause—