HC Deb 17 September 2003 vol 410 cc821-2W
Mrs. Iris Robinson

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what action he intends to take to address the backlog of MOT appointments at the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency. [124558]

Angela Smith

The principal causes of the current waiting time difficulties have been a significant increase in demand and the temporary closure of test centres for the installation of new test equipment.

The programme of refurbishment will be completed in September this year. In the meantime, a number of steps are being taken to alleviate the position. These include: continuing efforts to recruit additional staff; increased overtime working; the introduction of extended day working into additional centres to increase capacity; diverting technical staff from other duties to testing; working with the equipment supplier to secure higher levels of productivity; better public information and awareness, so that customers have the option of choosing centres with a lower waiting time; and relocating staff in order to match capacity and demand as closely as possible.

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