I apologize if you were perched on the edge of your seat clicking with anticipation just then. No, this doesn’t mean that vehicle tax will be removed in any form, just that the DVLA is planning on removing the paper tax discs and making the whole business digital (which it already is to a large extent).
The government believes that removing the need for a paper tax discs will save money as well as cut a lot of red tape. Obviously making the car taxing system a wholly digital affair would remove the need for the disc to be displayed on your windscreen – it is estimated that currently around 36 million vehicles have discs at the moment. Much of the system is registered on a database, however Police still cannot always tell instantly whether a car is taxed or not.
This may seem like a very practical solution, however many will be opposed with many motor interest groups describing it as “the end of a motoring era”. Apart from these traditionalist concerns, there are also worries that making the whole system digital could leave it vulnerable to mistakes, notably on the data-entry level. IT solutions are a wonderful thing, but they do not always work immediately. For instance very few people know that when the (IBM designed) London Congestion Charging scheme was introduced, there were software and hardware integration problems meaning that did not properly work for a month.
With the whole system to become digitized, reminders may come in the form of emails or text. It is also thought that the paper driving license (counterpart license) will be made redundant by 2015. The Department for Transport’s Stephen Hammond said that “we will remove the need for unnecessary paper, including abolishing the driving license counterpart and consider the continuing need for the tax disc.” It is estimated that this scheme will save about £90 million a year for the government.
Fleet operators with commercial vehicle insurance will also be pleased as this will present administration cost reductions too.