NFSP Communications Team
Post Office Ltd (PO) has announced that its contract with the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) may not be renewed, which could mean all DVLA transactions being withdrawn in the next few weeks.
This will naturally have a significant impact on postmasters' remuneration. The current contract is worth £3.2m to postmasters per year. At present, PO carries out over 6 million transactions for DVLA per year, more than half of which are paid in cash.
PO made the announcement earlier today that "...there is a risk that the contract between the Post Office and DVLA will cease at its current expiry date of 30 June 2023. This would mean that all DVLA services (Vehicle Tax, Driving Licence renewals, International Driving Permits) would be withdrawn from Post Office branches on the evening of 30 June 2023."
Negotiations are ongoing between PO and the DVLA for an extension of the contract to March 2024. However, there is a very real possibility that this may not happen unless both parties can agree on a deal regarding remuneration.
Speaking in London while attending a debate in the House of Commons to discuss this issue, NFSP CEO Calum Greenhow said, "This is a very disappointing development and once more emphasises the lack of commitment from the Government towards self-employed Postmasters who have invested in the Post Office network.
"Furthermore, the NFSP is concerned that this may be a discriminatory move by a government department, as these services will no longer be available across PO counters from the 1st of April next year. There is a question of whether this would breach the Equality Act 2010 and also current Government policy on access to cash, etc. It also begs the question as to who is running the country, the duly elected Government, or unelected individuals of quangos?"
This issue has been raised in Parliament today, 23 May, by Alistair Carmichael MP. Further updates will be issued when we have them.