Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason solo motorcycle driving tests have been suspended during covid-19 lockdown; whether learner-riders of motorcycles who have already passed their theory tests are liable to financial loss caused by having to re-sit them in future, as a result of the suspension of the practical test modules; and what his policy is on people who have lost their employment because of the covid-19 outbreak, being facilitated to retrain as motorcycle dispatch riders. 
[Due for Answer on 4 February.]
The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport (Rachel Maclean): While social distancing can be achieved during motorcycle training and testing to an extent, there is still an element of exchanging equipment, such as radio microphones. This cannot be avoided and increases the risk of virus transmission. In addition, attending motorcycle training and tests is not in line with the current Government’s guidance and would be considered non-essential travel. It is also contrary to the ‘stay at home’ message and would increase movement of both people and vehicles. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) pays its contractor, Pearson, per theory test delivered. If candidates were exempted from having to pay for a re-take, then the DVSA, and in turn other fee payers, would incur the costs. This would be unfair to the other fee payers who would not benefit from the arrangement.
When it is safe to resume testing, the DVSA will put measures in place to increase testing availability wherever possible; this will include offering overtime to examiners and buying back annual leave, asking all those qualified but who do not normally do so to carry out tests, and conducting out of hours testing (such as on public holidays). These measures will also enable those wishing to retrain as motorcycle dispatch riders to take a practical test. The DVSA will continue to assess further options for increasing testing capacity and reducing the backlog as quickly as possible.