DVLA office closure threat

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SHEFFIELD has been dealt a ‘blow’ with the news its DVLA office could shut next year - axing more public sector jobs - under new Government plans.

The under-threat Napier Street office in Sharrow is one of 39 regional offices affected by the proposals announced yesterday.

A total of 1,200 jobs is at risk nationally, with around two dozen of those in Sheffield.

Offices are expected to close by the end of 2013.

Work would be centralised at DVLA headquarters in Swansea if proposals go ahead and a three-month consultation has now been launched.

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield said he was ‘shocked’ by the announcement.

He added: “It’s a blow for Sheffield.

“The Government are saying they are going to consultation but are already reaching a view they’re going to close every regional office.

“I will be asking questions about how they’re going to maintain a service while centralising everything to Swansea.

“It’s not only worrying for all the people who’ve been told they might be going to lose their jobs just before Christmas but for the service of motorists across the country.”

Closing the offices could deliver savings of around £28 million a year, it has been predicted.

Roads minister Mike Penning said the changes would make ‘dealing with the DVLA easier and quicker for motorists and businesses’ and be the first step in putting more services online.

The news comes on the back of Sheffield Council revealing up to 690 public sector jobs could be cut last month.

The Public and Commercial Services Union has said it will fight the move.

Mike Mackie, assistant secretary of the PCS northern branch for the DVLA, said: “From a Sheffield point of view you’ve got 30 people who have been told two weeks before Christmas their jobs are on the line.

“The timing of it is outrageous.

“The north relies on public sector jobs while the majority of private sector jobs are down south.

“For a business, what would be a five-minute transaction will now be a three-day wait.

“It’s a frontline service cut that affects big business and some of the most vulnerable people in society.”