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Is it the end of the road for the tax disc Scrapping paper version would cut costs and streamline services to motorists, say ministersPolice can tell from access to DVLA computer whether car has been taxedPaper element of driving licence also due to be scrapped by 2015
02:25 GMT, 14 December 2012
End of the road: The car tax disc which has been displayed on car windscreens for 90 years could be scrapped
The car tax disc which has adorned windscreens for more than 90 years could be due for the axe.
Ministers say scrapping the paper discs would cut costs and streamline services to motorists.
They are currently displayed on around 36million vehicles as proof that road tax has been paid.
However, the discs could become the latest victim of the digital revolution.
Officials say that because police can tell instantly from access to the DVLA computer whether a car has been taxed or not, there is no longer a need for proof on the windscreen.
Even tax disc reminders may soon come as emails or texts rather than paperwork through the post.
The paper element of the driving licence – which accompanies the credit card size photo-card – is also due for the chop by 2015.
Motoring groups said scrapping the tax disc would mark ‘the end of a motoring era’ and would divide opinion among the UK’s 44million drivers, as well as the police.
The plan is set out in the small print of a Government consultation paper published yesterday by the Department for Transport. It is looking into reforming the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, the Driving Standards Agency, the Vehicle Certification Agency and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency.
The report from Roads Minister Stephen Hammond says: ‘We will remove the need for unnecessary paper, including abolishing the driving licence counterpart and consider the continuing need for the tax disc.’
The paper element of the driving licence – which accompanies the photo card – is also due to be axed
It marks a potential U-turn by the Government which only recently – on its own ‘Better Regulation’ website which seeks cost-cutting ideas from voters – rejected the idea of scrapping the disc. It concluded: ‘The police strongly support the Department’s view that display of a tax disc should remain a legal requirement.’
But now, with money tight, abolition is back on the agenda.
AA president Edmund King said ‘traditionalists will mourn the tax disc’s passing’ but he added: ‘Motoring and vehicle information is increasingly going online.
‘The police use number-plate reading camera technology to check car details on their own or on the DVLA’s database.’