Friday, 13 January 2017

Wacky Taxes

One of the early joys of the day is to check the local roads to count the accidents and road works and see whether the red lines are all around, or if we are lucky, only adjacent and avoidable. The motoring question soon may become more political and a source of many discontents.

A plea to go back to the past to when vehicles displayed tax discs from the DVLA is made by Stephen Glover in The Daily Mail. One of those wonderful wheezes of government to save a bit of money was to get rid of them by digitising the system. Yes, we have heard that one before.

He claims that the losses incurred are massive, they mutter and say, yes well, it is a lot but not that much and hey guy's we are digital. The basic law of humanity that if there is a way round or a risk worth taking because the chances of being caught are minimised many more will have a go was ignored.

So on our roads it seems that a great many cars now are not taxed. Which raises other questions about whether they are insured or not. The other question, especially in the younger generations is whether many of them do not have a valid license.

The car tax itself is due to change in April when the new VED system from the time of George Osborne, who has since made his escape, will come into force. Instead of a flat rate tax system we now have one based on your emissions, or rather those of your car. This is a long story involving the EU and others that I will skip.

There is guidance available, but it is clear that some drivers will be hit hard. Among those will be many using automatic gearboxes, that includes inevitably, many people with problems for whom manual gear systems are difficult. The recent VW scandal suggests that some car makers have been imaginative in declaring their emissions, but we shall see.

The signs are that a lot of people will be paying much more and unhappy whilst others will be paying little or nothing because their car has low emissions. They may drive more miles, use the roads a great deal, consume lots of petrol, which is taxed, etc. but this is no matter. What will happen, again, is many people being peeved and possibly a disruption in the car markets.

Given that so many people need cars today this all could be an exercise in how to lose votes. Also, it could involve losing tax income as a great many more decide to take their chance and skip paying car tax at all.

Then there is the economics of car owning at present and the sales practices of so many agents. For many the move to cheap old cars taken off the radar of the records that can be dumped at will at little loss is very tempting.

There are other motorists on the roads besides the UK citizens. Many EU "working visitors" have brought their own cars (or I suspect in a number of cases somebody else's cars) with them. There is guidance about taxing etc. for incomers if you can work it out. Very many of the visitors do not seem to have bothered.

But it suggests that the authorities do not inquire much as to what is going on in reality. Locally, the number with EU plates is remarkable, again tempting to have one going cheap in a quick cash deal. These "visitor" cars may not be insured, or taxed and the drivers may even not have licenses, who knows? Why bother?

So driving becomes ever more dodgy and the good citizen who does his duty and pays his dues is the loser, especially if an accident occurs. All it needs is cowboy lawyers willing to act for untaxed, unlicensed etc. drivers who bump into you.

Oh, it seems that there are already a lot of them out there.

Muttley, do something? Scrap car tax and increase fuel tax?


  1. Put fuel tax up by £0.02 or £0.03 per litre, and the average driver of the average car will see no change in cost. The tax will be unavoidable and completely progressive (in the true sense of the word).

    Sack the whole parasitic department in Swansea and the Country as a whole will be better off, including the Magistrates courts. If there is no road tax, there can be no transgression.

  2. We have seen the results of a couple of DVLA trawls where their contractors clamp untaxed cars. Surprising how many there are.

  3. Around here they favour camera traps to check on road tax, insurance and MOT.

    When a friend in a car with foreign plates (genuine reason!) was snapped by one of Ken Livingstons cameras for congestion charge in London, they tracked the registered owner down in Belgium to demand a fine be paid. There wasn't a way to pay the charge on a car with a non-British number plate at the time, although there may well be now.

    The only reason to put all these complicated, cumbersome and expensive systems in place is to ream the motorist.

    I might have more sympathy with the camera checks on MOT and (even) insurance if they were not so infernally greedy about everything else.

  4. One of the early joys of the day is to check the local roads to count the accidents

    Love it.

    And excellent points.