§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
asked the Minister of Transport whether he will make a statement on his policy of closing down certain local offices of his Department's road vehicle licensing departments and returning to the previous system of licensing being done by the post offices; which offices are to be closed; at what savings in staff and costs; and what has been the extent of expenditure on this change since the last alteration.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
The hon. Member is mistaken in thinking that we are returning to an earlier system of licensing. Following the Government's review of the administration of VED we are not only reducing civil service numbers by 1000 and saving £7 million a year, but also improving the service to the public by providing more facilities than there have ever been for licensing motor vehicles. My right hon. Friend announced the extended network and functions of post offices in reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch and Lymington (Mr. Adley) on 19 March.—[Vol. 981, c. 189.] As a result of this fewer local vehicle licensing offices will be needed. My right hon. Friend gave details of the offices to be closed in reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby (Mr. Pawsey) on 10 July.—[Vol. 988, c. 294–96.]