DVLA delays leave Northampton cancer sufferer 'scraping by' as he cannot go back to work

Bus driver applied for a licence in August and he is still waiting

Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 10:30 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 10:32 am
Martin Wooley. Photo: Kirsty Edmonds.

A Northampton bus driver who beat cancer has been left to scrape by after DVLA delays left him unable to work.

Martin Wooley, who lives in Gayton, applied to renew his licence back in August.

He was told to expect it within six weeks. That got extended to ten weeks and just kept going — during which time he has been unable to start work at two jobs.

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Martin said: "It's disgusting the way they are treating us.

"We're totally struggling and I need to get back into work. We've got no spare money."

The father-of-five wanted to return to work after struggling to pay his and wife Susan's bills while living on a pension.

Martin landed a job with bus operator Stagecoach — where a severe shortage of drivers is leading to passengers facing daily cancellations — and then another security role to work while still waiting for the licence.

But the DVLA still has his birth certificate as part of his application process, leaving him without vital identification documents.

Martin says the arduous delay has had an even bigger impact on the couple's finances, leaving them to scrape by while they wait.

He added: "I'm just getting really fed up with it.

"They say they are short staffed and many are working from home, which I can understand. But they don't even contact you and that's all I'm asking for."

The former police officer was forced to leave work in 2014 after being diagnosed with cancer. It took until 2019 for the disease to finally go into remission.

His wife, Susan, retired as an NHS nurse in order to take care of Martin during his illness.

She says the delay has caused her serious concern, even being put on anti-depressants because she sees 'no light at the end of the tunnel.'

Susan added: "We weren't going to ask anyone for help, but we're living on basics.

"The application was there months ago so he could have been working in all that time.

"I just can't take any more of it. We're in debt and for every bill we pay we're playing catch-up.

"We don't want handouts or anything. We just want to work."

The DVLA said they cannot discuss individual cases but a spokesman added: "We’ve recruited more staff and increased overtime to help reduce waiting times for customers, and we’re now issuing around 200,000 driving licences each week.

"Paper applications are taking longer.

"We are prioritising the processing and returning of ID documents and we advise customers that if they need to include proof of identity with their application, that they only send in what is required and can check requirements on GOV.UK before they post their application.

"We are dealing with paper applications as quickly as possible and in the order in which they are received."