Driver training backlog raised at Holyrood and Westminster

CALLS for driving lessons and tests to resume as soon as possible in rural areas like Dumfries and Galloway have been taken to the top.

Concerns about a backlog in learning driving skills and gaining licences because of Covid-19 restrictions have been raised at Westminster and Holyrood.

Dumfriesshire MP David Mundell and constituency MSP Oliver Mundell have raised the issue on behalf of local driving instructors at ministerial level

The driver training industry is concerned that there is little sign of a lifting in restrictions, despite approaches to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.

In a letter to UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, David Mundell outlined the impact the paralysis was having in his large rural constituency.

He stated in such country area vehicles were a necessity, not a luxury as was the ability to drive.

In some cases, Mr Mundell pointed out, his constituents were being hindered in gaining work and accessing services.

He said: "I ask you to consider special provisions for driving tests and lessons to restart in rural areas as soon as possible, subject to reasonable precautions."

Mr Mundell added that such steps could help open up the economy and help revive communities.

Meanwhile, at the Scottish Parliament, Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell asked the Scottish Transport Secretary Michael Matheson when he expected driving lessons to resume.

The Minister replied that driving tests had been ceased across the UK until further notice, with the exception of emergency tests for critical workers, but the issue was being kept constantly under review.

Mr Matheson said: "This will be in line with maintaining physical distancing and suppressing the spread of the coronavirus."

He added: "The timing of the resumption of driving tests is reserved to the UK Government, but any resumption of tests would have to be in line with the Scottish route map out of lockdown."