Author Topic: Parking firms requesting drivers' details from the DVLA cost taxpayers 600k p.a.  (Read 920 times)

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Parking firms requesting drivers' details  from the DVLA to fine them cost taxpayers up to £600k a year

Taxpayers are spending up to £600,000 a year to subsidise the cost of private parking firms getting drivers’ details from the DVLA so they can fine motorists. And that total subsidy pot may have topped £5million over the last eight years.

New figures obtained from a Freedom of Information request reveal that the DVLA loses 34p every time a parking company applies for the details of a car’s registered keeper.

The subsidy arises because the private firms pay £2.50 for documentation, which costs the DVLA £2.84 to handle. This year the agency has received 1.8million applications from private companies, costing the public purse around £612,000.

 The revelation – in an FOI reply to the Dundee Courier - has sparked fury. A spokesman for the TaxPayers Alliance said: ‘To subsidise these searches is bizarre, especially as there is a lot of anxiety among drivers about the data being released at all.

‘It’s quite wrong that a tax-funded agency does not seem to have its costs and prices worked out properly.

‘Why should taxpayers help fund private companies who are trying to fine them? It’s an additional and highly unwelcome penalty.’

Labour Shadow Transport Secretary Mary Creagh said: ‘Private parking firms are part of an industry that is highly lucrative and cash-rich, so it is galling that taxpayers are subsidising their DVLA applications.

‘The UK Government should swiftly review its charging structure to fully recover its costs.’

Online applications for registered keepers details via the Electronic Vehicle Record Inquiries system have gone up 150 per cent since 2006/07. Over that period nearly £37million has been paid to the DVLA for 14.6million records. If each of the records cost 34p to handle, the taxpayer would have faced a bill of £5million.

In reply to the information request, Robert Toft, DVLA head of data sharing policy, said more than three-quarters of driver licensing and vehicle registration transactions are provided free of charge.

He said: ‘All costs of driver licensing and vehicle registration, including the cost of providing information to parking companies, are pooled and covered by total fee income.

‘DVLA charges £2.50 per application to parking companies. DVLA sets fees to recover costs, we do not aim to make a profit.

‘The current unit cost for processing a request for information from a parking company is £2.84. DVLA announced in the 2013-14 business plan that it would be reviewing all fees.’

The DVLA also charges for paper vehicle record inquiries (£2.50), the electronic driver entitlement checking service (£1.50), driver licence check (£1), the Fax verification service (£5) and driver licence validation service (£5).

The body dealt with 2.5million postal applications for paper records between April 2006 and December last year.

A DVLA spokeswoman said information is only provided under strict controls to parking firms which meet the standards set by an Accredited Trade Association and are compliant with its code of practice.

She added: ‘If it is brought to our attention that a company does not meet the necessary standards, we will investigate.

‘If the allegations are proven we will stop the release of keeper information to them.’


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