ANGUS MP Mike Weir has taken the fight to save the Arbroath and Forfar Driving Test centres from closure direct to the Prime Minister, using a rare Prime Minister’s Question to highlight the way in which the centres were threatened with closure without any consultation whatsoever.
Mr Weir had previously held a parliamentary debate on the subject and had written to the Transport Minister involved. However, given the timescale, he decided to take the opportunity to take the matter direct to the Prime Minister.
The local MP said: “It is completely unacceptable that the Driving Standards Agency can act in this high handed and undemocratic way. They simply announced the closure of the centres in a letter about the opening of the new multi purpose test centre in Dundee.
“There was no consultation with either the community or the instructors affected by the move.
“Since raising the issue in Parliament I have had representations from all over the UK where similar decisions have been taken.”
He continued: “The Prime Minister says his government wishes to give more power to local people but such decisions have the very opposite effect – they remove services without any consultation or consideration of alternatives.
“There should now be a halt to such closures until there is full consultation and a consideration of ways in which a test service can be maintained in Angus and other rural areas.”
Mr Weir said he was “cautiously optimistic” with regard to the Prime Minister’s response.
He went on: “Clearly the campaign had made progress with the Prime Minister giving a clear commitment that the Chief Executive of the Driving Standards Agency will look at alternatives to ensure continued provision of the service in Angus. I look forward to the promised meeting with the Minister to thrash out the issue fully.
“Time is, however, tight and I still believe the UK government should suspend closures until such time as there can be full and comprehensive consultation with the local communities and those directly affected by the decisions.
“Talk is easy but we urgently need action before the centres close and the service disappears. I will continue to pursue this matter through all available channels.”