Better it Went Completely

No one, I suspect will be mourning the passing of the tax disc…

While the paper disc is going to vanish, the tax will remain, though. Yet another tax we should not have to pay – along with VAT, and car tax, insurance tax, petrol tax and all the other money grabbing schemes the modern highwaymen of Westminster appropriate from us just so that we may use our vehicles.

A spokesman for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) said the body received approximately 160,000 reports from members of the public of potentially untaxed vehicles last year.

Which tells us that there are 160,000 obnoxious little prodnoses out there who will dob you into the authorities, so removing that little opportunity from the sour-faced, lemon-sucking, nosy, busybody snitches is no bad thing, so although the tax remains, the loss of the disc is perhaps a small blessing.

There is some delightful idiocy out there though in BBC land.

On Twitter, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Money Box Paul Lewis wondered how prospective buyers of second-hand cars would know in future when the vehicle excise duty paid would expire.

“How will people tell if [a] vehicle’s been abandoned?” he added.

Sorry? Really? You need an out of date tax disc to tell you that a vehicle has been abandoned? Not that it is sitting rusting away for an extended period? And the DVLA allow individuals to search their database using the registration number – it would be a simple matter to have the VED expiry date on that. Perhaps Paul Lewis would like me to nip round and wipe his bum for him as he seems to be in need.

After the demise of the paper disc, the Telegraph’s Steve Hawkes said, enforcing the digital system would entail greater use of surveillance cameras.

“More personal data lodged and presumably sold on then,” he commented.

This is entirely possible and is a reasonable response – however it isn’t necessary for such a scheme. Think about the MoT test, which is now all recorded electronically – and how do you tell if a vehicle is insured? Oh, yeah, the police can do a check if they need to, otherwise, no surveillance is needed, just as no tax disc is really needed. But, yeah, given the mental incapacity of your average politician and bureaucrat, more surveillance is highly likely.

Bit of a bummer for these people, though.


  1. I they were going to do a proper job, the tax disc would be abolished completely in favour of about £0.03 on a litre of fuel. It would cost about the same for an average driver in an average car doing average mileage (obviously I’d prefer to lose the disc and not have the increase, but that’s never likely to happen with these greedy sods).

    However, it would at least save money in allowing the whole tax disc division at Swansea to be abolished. Those who drive more fuel efficient and smaller vehicles would gain, while those in the proverbial Chelsea Tractor would pay more. It is a properly proportionate tax, rather than the convoluted, complicated VED system that they pretend helps the environment.

    It may even encourage enthusiasts to keep a more modern classic car (ie. post 1st January 1973)

    If it would have an adverse effect on the haulage industry (and I’m not sure that it will, given the vast cost of the disc on an HGV) then those companies can be given a suitable corporation tax break.

  2. I have to say that whilst a non driver I think this idea is ridiculous. I used to renew my bosses tax online for both her and her partner and 9/10 times the site was down or rubbish.
    Plus what about people who don’t have computers or internet access?
    Or if the site is hacked as can happen and everyones details and bank account information is compromised.
    There was another bank computer system melt down just this week.
    Computer systems are NOT safe and I am tired of being told they are when blatantly this is crap.
    Also I have no doubt there will be umpteen people who flout the law and drive until caught possibly for a very long period of time if they manage to avoid traffic cameras.
    I shall miss the tax disc as it happens it a little piece of history and another step down the line of big brother.
    When the computer systems fail which they will eventually the world will come to a grinding halt and we will all be royally screwed.
    I am very old fashioned and I think progress is not always progress.
    These government systems are notoriously unreliable, and can make peoples lives a misery.
    We have just had yet another stressful day with our local council over Housing Benefit having been sent another letter saying we have NOT provided the correct documents yet when we ring they have had all the info for 3 months, it’s all on the system.
    We almost lost our claim due to the ineptitude of some moron to read their complex crappy system.
    These system mess with peoples lives and some are not capable of dealing with the modern stress I freely admit I am one.
    Everything is just too difficult now and computers and computer sustems make it that way.
    So these systems are not up to scratch, and open to operator misuse at least in the post office they do it there in front of you and you can see it’s done correctly.

    • You’re worrying about nothing. This will be no different to insurance. Unlike the French, we don’t have a mini insurance certificate in the windscreen. And there is no need to have a computer to pay it – there will always be the facility to pay without using the interwebs. And computers going down can happen now disc or no disc so no difference.

      I currently use the internet system to renew my VED on four vehicles. Never had a problem.

      I’m not sorry to see the disc go. I would rather the whole shebang went though.

    • “I am very old fashioned and I think progress is not always progress.”

      Indeed, you are clearly *extremely* old fashioned: The first device that took data from punched cards and actually processed it in some way was created in the 1890s. That’s not a typo. The first data-processing device really is around 120 years old now and every computer today can trace its ancestry up the family tree to those early tabulating machines, designed to process census data.

      Computers are tools. They’re no more self-aware than a brick. When some ignorant twit refers to a “computer error”, they’re broadcasting their utter ignorance: a computer can no more make such an error than a hammer can mistakenly decide to strike your thumb instead of the nail. Computers follow orders to the *letter*. It’s the people *giving* those orders that cause all the problems.

      That said, as long as governments and businesses insist on always choosing the lowest bidder, they’re likely to get exactly what they paid for.

  3. The best thing about this is that it eradicates a nasty anomaly whereby you can have paid for your VED and be perfectly legal … but still be fined for not displaying a 1p piece of paper. For years, Police haven’t needed to see the disc to know if you’ve paid or not so it was serving as just another instrument of control and unfair irrelevant punishment.

    Mick: Shifting VED onto fuel would most definitely harm transport companies financially. I know as I run one myself. Having said that, I’d still support it as the admin is reduced, we build fuel costs into prices charged just the same, and we’d benefit from public scrutiny of the level of duty. At the moment, private car drivers are quite happy we’re paying huge VED fees because it doesn’t impact on them, so we are seen by politicians as an easy touch.

    It also eliminates silliness like this

    • Hi Dick – I had a suspicion that hauliers would probably lose, which is why I suggested that there should be an allowance made to bring them back to parity. Extra costs on shipping goods affect us all, including the crazy prices you pay for some classes of tax disc.

      Mr Osborne was very proud to announce that they didn’t need the cash from the £0.02 planned rise that he cancelled, and we’re not really talking about much more money to completely cancel VED. I wonder how much money would be saved by just closing the VED department in Swansea, and then not prosecuting people for not having something that isn’t really useful.

  4. XX received approximately 160,000 reports from members of the public of potentially untaxed vehicles last year. XX

    ” members of the public””

    Well, I hope EVERY one of them is PROUD to hang their personal citation from Lawrenti Beria / Heinrich Himmler/ and Erich Mielke on their living room walls.

    Will they tell their family, friends (If such scum HAS friends), and neighbours of their honoury NKVD/GESTAPO/STASI titles?

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