Labour mocks 'brass neck' Rishi Sunak as learner drivers wait 24 weeks for tests

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The Prime Minister has claimed he on drivers
The Prime Minister has claimed he on drivers' side (Image: HM TREASURY/UNPIXS (EUROPE))

Learner drivers are waiting six months to take their tests - despite Rishi Sunak claiming to be on motorists’ side.

Labour accused the Prime Minister of having “some brass neck” after uncovering figures revealing the delays faced by rookie drivers. Huge backlogs built up during the coronavirus pandemic are yet to be tackled, meaning big delays for learners hoping to become full licence holders.

A freedom of information request showed that as of May - a full year after all Covid-19 restrictions were lifted - dozens of test centres were still reporting 24-week waits. Analysis by Labour researchers said the average waiting time for a driving test was 16 weeks, while 38% of test centres had 24-week waiting times.

As of June, the backlog of drivers waiting for a test remained more than half a million. It has been at that level since July 2021, the party said. Labour warned the revelations made a mockery of Mr Sunak’s claim to be supporting drivers.

Labour mocks 'brass neck' Rishi Sunak as learner drivers wait 24 weeks for tests erideuiqtqiqdrinvSome learners face waits of nearly six months (Getty Images)

The Conservative Premier has drawn general election battle lines by ordering a review of low-traffic neighbourhoods and attacking Labour’s plans to extend London’s ultra-low emission zone, charging owners of more polluting vehicles £12.50 a day to drive in the capital. The PM claimed last week: “I just want to make sure people know that I’m on their side in supporting them to use their cars to do all the things that matter to them.”

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Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh fumed: “Rishi Sunak has some brass neck to claim he’s on the side of motorists. Under his Government costs for motorists have soared and would-be drivers are still waiting half a year to take a test. If he really cared about motorists then he would step in and sort out the misery they are facing before they even leave the test centre.”

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency chief executive Loveday Ryder said: “We are taking all the measures we can to reduce driving test waiting times, including recruiting almost 500 new driving examiners and creating more than one million new tests since 2021, and we strongly urge learners only to book their driving test when they are ready to pass.”

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Ben Glaze

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