‘System failure’ over car tax service - MP


East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has written to the Transport Minister in London over the transfer of car tax services to Wales.

The DUP representative indicated he had been contacted by a number of constituents who had experienced trouble taxing their vehicle.

“I’ve been speaking to people from Larne, Newtownabbey and even car dealers from outside of East Antrim about this issue,” he said.

“One resident in Larne had only bought her car in the middle of July; she tried to tax it in the Post Office but the system wasn’t in place yet.

“She couldn’t get through to the service in Swansea, and when she did, she was told they had no record of her insurance and couldn’t tax the car for her.

“This lady had nowhere else to park her car but in the street, where it was clamped and she received a fine.

“A man from Newtownabbey ran into problems when he was told his car would have to be insured before it could be registered; he was told this would take a minimum of 16 days to process but his insurance would only cover him for 10 days.”

Mr Wilson indicated he had made a request to the Transport Minister that anyone who had been financially disadvantaged as a result of being unable to tax their vehicles would not be penalised and that fines, and clamping fees would be repaid.

“It is only right and fair were those who have made genuine efforts to abide by the law and because of bureaucratic incompetence have not been able to do so should not find themselves penalised. I trust that the Transport Minister in London will respond to the request that I have made,” Mr Wilson added.

“To date officials have simply hidden behind the law saying it was tightly regulated and therefore they can exercise no discretion. Surely this should not be the case and fairness must prevail.

“The disaster that this has turned out to be indicates what we were saying all along; namely, that the service should have remained in Northern Ireland.

“This would have protected jobs, but more importantly, would have ensured that the public were not disadvantaged in the way that has clearly become evident since the changeover.”