DVLA'S Classic Car Woes Reach The Top

Classic Car Weekly lead on comments by the Transport Secretary that the DVLA must do more to help owners of older vehicles.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said at an event organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicles Group:

“The DVLA hasn't always had the happiest of relationships with owners of classic and historic vehicles, and since I've been running the Department I hope that we've set it on a better trajectory. We're not completely at the end of the journey but I hope we can get to a point where we have a good, happy rapprochemont with the DVLA doing what it needs to verify vehicle quality, safety and veracity, but to do it in a way that is sensitive to the needs of classic and historic vehicle owners. I know there's been a lot of engagement going on and I do feel that we're moving in the right direction. 

That's certainly the steer that those on the DVLA who work for me have been given, and we’ll keep that process going. You can rest assured that MPs, including Transport Select Committee member Greg Smith, do grill me frequently when I appear before them on how the department engages the owners of classic vehicles — and you can also rest assured that they will continue to do so."

The minister's comments come after experts at the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs raised concerns about how the agency handles classic-specific cases (CCW,2 August) and the Historic & Classic Vehicles Alliance invited two DVLA representatives to speak at its Heritage Matters conference (CCW,11 October). As part of their work with the DVLA’s Historic Vehicle User Group, both organisations have cited issues with registering restored vehicles, Q -prefix plates being issued incorrectly and delays in vehicles being given tax-exempt status.

The DVLA - which is currently undergoing a government-led review into its operations - has told classic experts that it is keen to listen to classic vehicle owners, including through its work with the group.

DVLA Stakeholder Relationship Manager Gareth Jones and Dudley Ashford (Corporate Services Manager) on stage with HCVA's David Meek at the HCVA Heritage Matters Insight Day

DVLA Stakeholder Relationship Manager Gareth Jones said:

"All of my team’s function is to listen to, understand and feed into the agency the challenges, views and frustrations of different sectors of industry. The group is a vindication of our appetite to understand what's going on. It’s all about getting a greater understanding on both sides of the challenges that we experience and finding a way forward."

Greg Smith MP on stage at the HCVA Heritage Matters Insight Day

David Simister has been following events closely on behalf of Classic Car Weekly and has made the following comment:

"When CCW ran the DVLA claim that it was listening to classic owners on our front page a fortnight ago the response from a lot of classic owners was one of frustrated disbelief, and that's because no one - including the agency's own representatives and now the transport minister - has yet committed to any concrete reforms that will help swing the balance in favour of classic owners. It's great to hear that influential policymakers in the corridors of Westminster are aware of the frustrations and delays classic owners face, but until a definite change in direction - and crucially, one that classic owners are on-board with - is agreed I won't be holding my breath for improved services. That's why I'm hopeful that the ongoing review of the DVLA includes reforms that can help make things smoother for classic owners."

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