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The end of the tax-disc?

New technology may sound the death knell for the paper tax disc

THE GOVERNMENT believes that scrapping the old-fashioned tax disc may save the DVLA and associated services a small fortune annually. 

Technology avaliable to the police now allows them to tell immediately upon accessing the DVLA computer database whether a car has been taxed or not. Consequently, it is argued, there is no need for the tax disc to be displayed on the car. 

Current estimates suggest that around 36 million vehicles display a tax disc.

Plans to do away with the 90 year-old tradition are being discussed alongside other possible cost-cutting and streamlining measures associated with motoring. 

The plan is set out in the small print of a Government consultation paper published last week by the Department for Transport. The report is directed at potential reform in the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, the Driving Standards Agency, the Vehicle Certification Agency and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, and includes a recommendation for the abolition of the counterpart driver's license. 

Any move to adopt such a policy would amount to a U-turn by the government - which recently rejected the idea of scrapping the disc, the Department for Transport concluding that 'the police strongly support the Department’s view that display of a tax disc should remain a legal requirement.’

Opinion is divided on the implications of the proposal. 

John Lewis, chief executive of trade body BVRLA (British Vehicle Rental And Leasing Association) said: 'It is great that the Red Tape Challenge we participated in last year is continuing to bring results,

'We estimate that removing this pointless piece of paper would save the government around £90m a year and produce major administrative cost savings for fleet operators as well.'

On the other hand, some road users that are already concerned about the number of untaxed motorists on British roads are unlikely to welcome a measure which makes it more difficult to discern between motorists that are abiding by the law and those that are not...

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