Scrapping of paper tax discs leads to more unlicensed car on UK roads

The number of untaxed cars on Britain’s roads has more than doubled since the paper tax disc was abolished, according to statistics released by the Department of Transport.

In 2013 the estimated number of unlicensed vehicles in use on UK streets was 210,000 (0.6%), but in 2015 this figure rose to 1.4%.

In total 560,000 of vehicles (1.5%) were unlicensed in 2015. This is the highest level for eight years and equates to £80 million worth of potential revenue that was lost.


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The rise demonstrates the consequence of the abolition of the paper tax disc, which came into force on 1 October 2014, according to the RAC.

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “These are very worrying and disappointing statistics indeed. Sadly, the concerns we raised about the number of car tax evaders going up at the time the tax disc was confined to history have become a reality.

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“The RAC believes it is vital that this survey is repeated in 12 months’ time – if not sooner – rather than in the normal two-year period so we can establish once and for all whether the increase is simply a temporary result of the new system.”

The DVLA has responded by saying the new system makes it easier than ever for people to tax their cars.

DVLA Chief Executive Oliver Morley said: “Almost 99% of all vehicles on the road are correctly taxed: that’s around £6 billion in vehicle tax passed to the Treasury every year. We write to every registered vehicle keeper in the UK to remind them when their tax is due and we have introduced a range of measures to make vehicle tax easy to pay. At the same time we are taking action against those who are determined to break the law.”