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DVLA office closure will happen, says MP Conor Burns
AN MP says there is little chance of the government changing its mind over plans to axe the DVLA office in Bourne Valley.
The office, at Bourne Gate in Poole, is one of 39 nationwide facing closure because of government cuts, with around 61 local jobs at risk. It was shut for a day last Friday as part of a national strike over the planned closures by the Public and Commercial Services union. The union said the closure of offices would mean the loss of valuable local services and more than 1,000 jobs. The union also delivered a 72,000-name petition to the Department for Transport.
Conor Burns, Conservative MP for Bournemouth West, whose constituency includes the office, has previously urged the government to spare the centre, claiming there was a “compelling case” to keep the office open.
He said of the strike: “I can fully understand the frustration of the workers there and why they have decided to take industrial action.
“But I have had no indication that the government is planning to change its decision. It is unarguable what they have said about the amount of money these centres cost, and in the current economic climate I can’t see loss-making services being reinstated.
“But it is a great shame and I have yet to be convinced by the Department for Transport’s argument that there will be no loss of service as functions are delegated to Post Offices.”
Mr Burns has told how drivers come to Poole from as far away as Yeovil to sort out queries in person at the DVLA office.
In a letter to a minister last year, he argued: “Bournemouth and Poole’s significant elderly population, our proximity to ports at Poole and Weymouth, and the large number of vehicle dealerships in the conurbation combine to make a compelling case for the office to remain open.”
Bournemouth council unanimously backed a motion last year calling for a re-think.
Labour’s Cllr Dennis Gritt said the office served 50,000 people a year and its fines enforcement had claimed back £1million in a year.
The government has claimed closing the offices and centralising operations will make dealing with the DVLA “quicker and easier”.