§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
asked the Secretary of State for Transport why he proposes to revert to the practice of 28W motorists again being able to obtain road fund licences from post offices; when the original change to licensing from Swansea first took place; and what has been the cost to public funds of each of the two changes in practice.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
Motorists have always been able to renew road fund licences from post offices but, until our review of VED administration in 1979, the 2, 000 post offices concerned could handle only simple renewals. All other licensing had always been done at local offices.
We have now added another 1, 000 post offices to the network of licensing offices and have extended the range of work they can handle. These changes provide a much more convenient and local service for the public.
From 15 January the Post Office will be handling virtually all relicensing applications. Only a very small number of specialist cases will need to be handled in our local offices.
The changes over the last two years are estimated to save up to £7 million a year by a reduction in the number of local offices needed and by cutting out about 1, 000 Civil Service posts.
The availability of vehicle excise licences from post offices was not affected in any way by the establishment of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Centre at Swansea.