Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today written to the Chair of the House of Commons Transport Select Committee calling for an enquiry into the operations of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. Mr Carmichael made the intervention with the Committee in light of growing frustrations with the agency’s behaviour locally in the isles and its central role in long-term plans to increase the numbers of UK HGV lorry drivers. This week it emerged that the DVSA had cancelled all theory tests in both Orkney and Shetland for the month of October, while nationally the UK faces a shortfall of HGV drivers of as much as 100,000.
Commenting on the letter, Mr Carmichael said:
“We may be facing a new Winter of Discontent if the government does not get on top of shortages and transport woes – and securing sufficient HGV-licensed drivers will be a vital part in that. Unfortunately for us all, such long-term development of HGV drivers in the UK will be reliant on the work of the DVSA.
“We know all too well in the isles about the problems within the DVSA, its attitude towards local communities and its frankly chaotic internal workings. The most recent fiasco has been the cancellation of testing services this month with no notice and pitiful excuses. We have a right to question if an agency with this many problems of culture and competency is fit for purpose when it comes to combatting the national shortage in HGV drivers.
“That is why I have written to the Chair of the Transport Select Committee, calling on him to scrutinise the work of the DVSA and to challenge it to reform internally and externally. Sunshine is the best disinfectant – it will be to all our benefit, locally and nationally, to get the DVSA functioning as it should.”