§ Mr. Thomas Cox
asked the Minister of Transport what is the present waiting time for a driving test in each of the examination centres in Greater London Council area.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
Waiting periods at these centres are:
Centre Waiting period (weeks) Barking Over 40 Barnet 31 Belvedere 28 Bexleyheath 28 Burnt Oak 34 Chingford 32 Croydon 34 East Ham Over 40 Greenford 40 Hayes 38 Hendon Over 40 Hither Green 33 Hornchurch Over 40 Ilford Over 40 Isleworth Over 40 Lee 35 Mill Hill Over 40 Morden 35 Norwood 35 Palmers Green Over 40 Ruislip 28 Sidcup 28 Southall Over 40 Southfields 36 Southgate 27 Surbiton 36 Sutton 35 Teddington Over 40 Tottenham 23 (Centre closing on 18 December) Wallington 31 Wanstead Over 40 Wealdstone 31 West Wickham 34 Winchmore Hill Over 40 Wood Green Over 40
Limitations in the capacity of the appointment booking computer in the Metropolitan traffic area make it impossible to give precise waiting periods where these exceed 40 weeks. The number of centres where this limitation applies has fallen as the examiner force has increased.
Waiting periods in London are still much higher than the national average. They are reducing more slowly than elsewhere largely because first responses to our examiner recruitment drive were quicker and greater outside London whilst unfortunately London has by far the biggest backlog. More examiners are being recruited as quickly as possible, new test centres are being sought and we are bringing in examiners from elsewhere to help. The situation should improve steadily but it was bound to take time to overcome the dreadful position we found when we took office.