Transport workers in Swansea have been labelled a shambles after delays in the transfer of personalised number plates.
The Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA) has criticised the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in its handling of the transfer of personalised plates.
A spokesman for the group said: “We would describe it as a shambles.”
Douglas Robertson, chief executive of the SMTA, said: “The DVLA is currently centralising its processes in Swansea and intends to close all its Local Vehicle Licensing offices (LVLOs).
“Centralisation is intended to save the UK taxpayers a considerable amount of money in the future but the current cost to UK businesses and taxpayers could well exceed any savings.
“The transfer of personalised numbers from one vehicle to another is supposed to take between seven to eight working days maximum.
“However we have found over the past couple of months that this can often extend to six weeks and this is causing frustration amongst consumers who cannot put their cars on the road until the transfer is complete and also to many of our dealers whose cash flow can suffer badly whilst waiting on the numbers to be received.
“Being over a million pounds out of pocket for a few weeks can cause great difficulties for a retail business in the motor trade and we believe it is only a matter of time before jobs are lost, and this will have been caused by the incompetence of a UK Government Agency funded by the taxpayers.
“We have been in communication with the DVLA frequently in recent weeks and have achieved no satisfaction; indeed we have evidence that they are now issuing misleading information to ourselves and our members.
“We have also been in contact with the UK Minister of Transport, Patrick McLoughlin who is ultimately responsible for the DVLA and also the Scottish Secretary of State Michael Moore, sadly in the two weeks since we made contact nothing has been heard from either of them.
“It would appear that little or nothing is being done about this disgraceful situation and we believe it essential that consumers understand the delays are being caused by the incompetence of the DVLA, not their local dealer.”
A spokesman for the DVLA said: “The maximum processing time for personalised registration applications has not changed with the introduction of the new process, and we are still committed to our turnaround time of seven working days from receipt of the application at DVLA.
“However, we are currently experiencing some delays in the processing of personalised registration applications which means some applications are delayed by a couple of days.
“We are working to resolve this and expect to be back within usual processing times shortly.
“We remain committed to delivering the best service we can.
“Our continued movement towards digital transactions and the greater use of other organisations to deliver services on our behalf will make it easier for customers to deal with us in a way that suits them.”
The DVLA will start to close the first of its 39 regional offices in October as it looks to centralise services in its Swansea headquarters.
The Agency claims the process will save tax payers around £26m year on year.
The work carried out at the 10 regional enforcement centres will be centralised in Swansea.