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DVLA regional offices to be closed
Staff affected by the DVLA office closures may be relocated to the agency's head office in Swansea
The Government is to close the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's (DVLA) 39 regional offices in a move affecting more than 1,200 staff.
Roads minister Mike Penning said the centralisation of the agency's services would save around £26 million a year.
It is hoped some of the staff affected will be able to relocate to the head office in Swansea and no offices will close until late next year.
MPs in areas where jobs could be lost said the move was "a false economy" and would do nothing to combat motoring tax evasion.
Mr Penning said the DVLA reforms would provide a better, quicker service for motorists, with services centralised and more transactions available online.
He went on: "The DVLA has been serving motorists for more than 40 years but times and customers' needs change. That is why the agency continues to transform its services to give customers more choice and flexibility while offering best value for money for the taxpayer.
"These changes - developed after carefully listening to views expressed at consultation - will ensure that the agency delivers a smarter service to bring real benefits for the motor industry and every motorist in this country."
Labour MP John McDonnell, the chairman of civil service union the PCS's parliamentary group, said the decision would "have a devastating effect on the service available and clearly ignores the needs of drivers and small businesses, the elderly and those who are not IT literate".
He went on: "This is a Government car crash. Their manic office closure programme will be entirely counter-productive."
Gregory Campbell, DUP MP for East Londonderry in Northern Ireland, where more than 200 jobs could be lost, said: "The announcement will do nothing to combat fraudulent activity ... and is an extremely retrograde step."
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