The future of a DVLA contract is a key test of the UK Government’s promise to secure the future of the Post Office by making the network the ‘front-office’ of government.
Post Office Ltd., is currently bidding for the new 10-year DVLA contract, which would provide income of around £60 million a year to the network. This income would help maintain other essential post office services, and provide a ‘framework contract’ which could lead to further government work for post offices.
Angus MP Mike Weir, who is the SNP’s Postal Affairs spokesman, raised the issue of the upcoming DVLA contract during parliamentary questions and urged ministers to push the DVLA to stick with the Post Office.
Mr Weir said: “The campaign to retain the contract with the Post Office has huge public support. I have received hundreds of postcards from post office customers across Angus urging the UK government to ensure that the contract remains with the Post Office.”
“The UK government are very good at claiming they want post offices to be the ‘front line of government’, but they are doing very little to bring that about. The award of the DVLA contract is a key test of this commitment.
“Despite coalition promises, there has been a steady paring of business, with the Department for Work and Pensions for example, the latest department to give an important contract to another operator.
“I am very concerned that if the DVLA contract is lost it will have a very serious impact on the future of local post offices. This contract is a key test of commitment of the UK Government to deliver on their promise to assist the post office network.
“We are already in the position where many post offices cannot provide the existing DVLA service. In Arbroath, for example, the main post office now no longer offers the service of renewing a photo driving licence and has to advise people to travel to Forfar or Dundee to renew it.”
“This diminution of services is likely to worsen as they downgrade post offices under the changes to the post office local branch system, which will only offer a limited number of services. “It’s imperative that the government and post office look seriously at the ability to deliver these essential services. Failure to do so could lead to a further spiral of decline and undermine the viability of vital post office services, cutting back crucial provisions in communities across Scotland.”