Beggs presses for additional capacity to help ease MOT and driving test backlog

East Antrim MLA Roy Beggs has called for additional capacity to help ease the backlog over MOT and driving tests.

Tuesday, 13th October 2020, 4:31 pm
Roy Beggs MLA.

Speaking at a meeting of the Infrastructure Committee at Stormont last week, Mr Beggs suggested that the DVA needed additional resources to combat extensive waiting lists.

The UUP Infrastructure spokesman said: “I see that there is a bid for £11 million for lost revenue for DVA, but I do not see any bid for capital equipment or staff for the future. There are huge pressures on DVA. For instance, yesterday, there were approximately 1,000 people queueing to get onto the website to book an MOT. I declare an interest as someone who will need an MOT in a few months’ time.

“There were 730 people queueing to get onto the website to book a driving test. I understand that it has been extended beyond Christmas and opened up for January. There is considerable pressure for those tests. Can you confirm that the reason that there is no bid is that it is all self-financing because people pay for them, or is there a need for additional money to enable this to happen?

“In order to allow tests to occur more speedily and the backlog to be dealt with, does the Department need any additional resources, or is it all entirely self-financing, with people paying for tests when they do one?”

A Departmental official responded: “There is a bid for £11 million for lost income to DVA. That is for the costs of the vehicle and driving tests. Clearly, the DVA has been through a very difficult period, first with the lift issue and then with COVID, and its ability to deliver was stretched. I know that it got back as fast as it could.

“It is also the case that some MOT centres were being used for COVID testing, although I think that the last of those has now been returned to the Department. DVA is working as fast as it can to deal with the backlog. It is working within the resources that it has, but it needs that money to help to make good the loss of income so that it can keep working at the level at which it is currently working.

“Where capital is concerned, I believe that the lifts are now installed, so that was big capital expenditure that was clearly needed. It is hoped that having those lifts back in place will start to help to clear the backlog, certainly in MOT testing.”

Motor vehicle testing and driver testing are “self-financing” in DVA, said Gary Boyd, Department for Infrastructure. “There have been drops in income that have created the bid for £11 million in resource. Having resumed the testing, there is clearly the backlog that has been suggested, and there are capacity issues that the Minister is dealing with. I know that DVA is considering how that can be dealt with. It is very aware that there is a queue and that there has been a backlog over the last number of days.”

On Mr Beggs’ suggestion, the Committee agreed to meet DVA officials to pursue the issue.