§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will give the actual or estimated total inclusive costs of the driver and vehicle licensing centre at Swansea, including the computer and ancillary costs thereto and indicating separately the costs of establishing and running the centre; and what has been the actual or estimated saving to public funds as a result of this change from the previous system.
§ Mrs. Chalker
The estimated total cost of the centralised driver and vehicle licensing system since the start of detailed planning in 1968 up to the end of March 1982 amounted to £600.4 million. This included the cost of setting up the new computer system, of running the old local authority system in parallel with the new during the planning and implementation period, and of operating the new system. The system costs include not only those of the centre at Swansea but also the Department's local vehicle licensing offices and Post Office and other agency services.
The costs of running the previous local authority system in its last full year of operation in 1973, revalued to 1982 prices, amounted to £74 million. In 1981–82 the estimated total running costs for the new system were £88 million. A direct comparison of these figures is not possible because of the distortions inflicted by the increases since 1973 the number of drivers and of the growth in the vehicle population. A number of new functions is also now part of the centralised system which was not present before. These functions include recalls of defective vehicles and providing a service to the police national computer.