A number of constituents have been in touch with me to let me know that they face paying twice for driving theory tests because of the impact of the pandemic. A simple legislative fix would resolve this, which is what Northern Ireland has done. The UK Government is not acting, so today, I brought a Bill forward which would fix this unnecessary situation.
SNP PUSH FOR DRIVING TEST REIMBURSMENT
SNP MP Kirsten Oswald will today (Tuesday, 2nd February) present a Bill that, if passed, would allow DVSA to reimburse driving test applicants who face additional test fees as a result of the pandemic.
The UK Government estimates that there is now a backlog of over half a million practical driving tests due to the pandemic. As a result, many driving test applicants will face additional costs.
The Driving Test (Repayment of Test Fees) Bill would allow the UK government to authorize reimbursement of anyone who had paid for a driving test, but were unable to sit any part of it due to the current pandemic.
The SNP has repeatedly urged the UK government to act to stop driving test students facing double fees at a time when many face job losses or reduced income during the global health pandemic and economic crisis.
When pressed by Kirsten on the issue of refunding test fees, the Department for Transport replied that this is expressly forbidden by the Road Traffic Act 1988.
Kirsten’s bill would change the Act to allow the repayment of test fees in the event of any civil emergency, including the current pandemic.
Speaking before she presented her Bill, Kirsten Oswald MP said:
“As a result of the lockdown, tens of thousands of applicants have been unable to complete their practical driving test and their theory test certificate has expired. This is not the fault of the learner, so they shouldn’t be punished financially for that.
“I fully understand the need for the UK government to restrict driving tests during this global health pandemic – nobody will dispute that – but it is not fair to load the financial cost on to the learner drivers.
“For many, sitting a driving test can be a big financial burden, but the eventual benefits of it are fantastic. Unfortunately though, the financial impact is still occurring, but nobody is experiencing the joy of passing their tests. The UK government must take action.
“Learner drivers, instructors, and the whole driving industry want to see action by the UK government. This bill is an example of a simple step they could have taken over the past year and, to ensure the bill gets passed, I will be asking Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, to take it forward in government time.
“Beyond this, the government need to tackle the crisis emerging in the driving industry, halt the double-charging of learner drivers, and bring forward a plan to take the industry forward after the pandemic.”
‘Thousands of learner drivers face years for test due to Covid’ - https://www.heraldscotland.com/.../18905246.thousands.../
‘MPs to debate extension of theory tests as thousands of learners face double fees’ - https://www.heraldscotland.com/.../19043002.mps-debate.../
’30,000 Scots waiting for driving tests as pandemic puts the brakes on assessments’ - https://www.heraldscotland.com/.../19032981.30-000-scots.../
The Bill is co-sponsored by SNP MPs Anne McLaughlin and David Linden