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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Half a million drivers wait over two months for driving licences due to DVLA backlog

More than 60 MPs from across the political divide have now written to Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, calling for him to take “urgent action”.

The letter warned that the delays have reached a level where people “face losing employment over a lack of certainty on when they will legally be able to drive”.

The MPs said that their constituents also faced “severe delays” in getting back identity documents, which is having a knock-on effect and has led to people being unable to travel abroad for family events including funerals.

Sarah Olney, the Liberal Democrat MP for Richmond Park who organised the letter, said that the impacts were widespread, and action was needed now so “our constituents can have their lives back”.

Delays have largely been blamed on the pandemic and on industrial action by the Public and Commercial Services.

NHS blamed for delays

Official data from the DVLA showed that in July, when the information was first published, the longest average wait for those who had submitted a paper application to renew their licence was eight weeks.

The same data showed that this week, it is currently processing paper applications for renewals, including for the over-70s, and applications to change a name or address on a driving licence from 11 weeks ago.

The DVLA said that the waiting times had increased because the NHS had lifted a pause on providing information, which was put in place as it focused on the pandemic, and a period of extension to driving licence expiry dates has come to an end, resulting in a huge volume of applications.

Despite drivers being warned that it will take up to 10 weeks to process their application, data released to The Telegraph show that as of the beginning of September, 517,881 paper applications had taken longer than 10 weeks to process or were still outstanding.

On the same date, there were 185,385 applications requiring a medical decision which were more than 10 weeks old which were still being processed.

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