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DVLA has the ‘perfect’ number plate for Rolls-Royce Gho557t owners

GHO 557T registration plate

If you’re fortunate enough to own a Rolls-Royce Gho557t, the DVLA has the registration mark for you.

‘GHO 557T’ is one of 1,250 lots going under the hammer at the first DVLA Personalised Registrations live auction of 2019, and if you’re lucky, you might secure the plate for the £250 reserve.

Actually, that’s not strictly true, because there’s also VAT to pay on the hammer price, along with 8 percent buyer’s premium, further VAT on the buyer’s premium, and an £80 assignment fee. Which makes it a minimum of £428.

Then you need to factor in the cost of the plastic number plates – you’re essentially bidding for a piece of paper.

But this might be a small price to pay if you drive a Gho557T – or you’re a fan of Patrick 5wayze or Demi M00re.

GHO 557T number plate

Other personalised registrations include ‘ELT 8N’, ‘E111 BOW’, ’44 TWO’, ‘VEG 666N’, ‘LAM 880W’ and ‘WR17 GHT’.

Mant of the registrations require squinting, deep imagination or the clever use of screws or spacing to make them work, but it’s worth noting that the latter could result in a fine of up to £1,000. There’s no charge for squinting or an imagination.

B1G M4C with cheese

Jody Davies of DVLA Personalised Registrations has selected her favourites, including ‘ODD 50X’, ‘FLA 6S’ and ‘AL66 ERT’.

We rather like ‘MAC 650S’, although we suspect there will be a number of McLaren 650S owners bidding on the plate, pushing the price way beyond the £250 reserve.

At the last auction of 2018, ‘1 USD’ fetched a staggering £33,000, while ’80 OOO’, ‘IG 8’ and ‘786 MO’ sold for £30,000, £27,000 and £26,600 respectively. 

The first auction of 2019 gets underway on 13 February at The Casa Hotel in Chesterfield. You can download a catalogue via the DVLA Personalised Registrations W38STE.

How to say safe online – top tips for motorists

motorists stay safe online

Motorists are increasingly finding themselves a target for fraudsters, with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) revealing that it received 1,275 reports of suspected tax scams in the final quarter of 2018.

With this in mind, the DVLA has published seven tips designed to help motorists stay safe online. “When looking for contact details or any of DVLA’s digital services, you should only use gov.uk so you can be sure that you’re dealing directly with DVLA,” warned Dave Pope, the chief information security officer at the DVLA.

“Posting on social media is a way of life for most drivers, however, they may not realise they risk setting themselves up as a prime target for fraudulent activity. People can stay ahead of the criminals by being vigilant with their personal information and who they share it with, and reporting anything suspicious to the police via Action Fraud,” he continued.

Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime – a service run by the City of London Police working alongside the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB).

A spokesperson for Action Fraud said: “We know that fraudsters are increasingly using more sophisticated ways to trick their victims, and so it is important that members of the public think about their online behaviour and ensure that they do everything they can to protect themselves.

“Taking measures such as limiting the amount of personal information shared on social media platforms and being cautious of any unsolicited messages received can help to prevent online crime.”

The DVLA’s seven tips to stay safe online

  • Only use gov.uk – double check that you are using a gov.uk webpage so that you can be sure you’re dealing with the DVLA.
  • Scam emails – the DVLA will never send emails asking motorists to confirm their personal details or payment information. Do not open any links – simply delete the email.
  • Beware of misleading websites – some sites will offer help when applying for a driving licence or taxing a car, but will charge additional fees for services that are free via gov.uk.
  • Look out for premium rate numbers – DVLA contact centre numbers will always begin with 0300 – look out for websites using premium rate numbers.
  • Be mindful of what you share online – never share images of your driving licence or vehicle documents as this exposes you to the risk of identity fraud.
  • Texts – the DVLA will never send texts about vehicle tax refunds. If you receive one, don’t click the link – simply delete the text.
  • Report any suspected scams – anything suspicious should be reported to the police via Action Fraud.

To contact Action Fraud, call 0300 123 2040 or use the online reporting tool.

Europe driving

The essentials you didn’t know you needed for driving to Europe

Europe driving

Planning a motorised jaunt across the channel? Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it, but even the glamour of a pan-European dash comes with its rigours. The DVLA has issued a statement with reference to what paperwork you may need to acquire before you buy your ferry ticket.

The focus is on proof of ownership. It’s always been necessary to carry your V5C, but with the exponential increase in vehicles purchased on a personal lease, further documentation is required.

Specifically, a VE103 ‘on hire’ certificate that can be acquired from your rental or lease provider. While the V5C would be proof of ownership, the VE103 is proof of stewardship – while rented or leased, this car is in your care. Either, as per their relevance, are legally required to be in your possession when driving in Europe.

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) director of member services, Nora Leggett, spoke about the importance of correct documentation: “We believe thousands of motorists could inadvertently flout European legislation when driving across the Channel this year by travelling without the correct documentation.

“We ask that drivers who lease or rent their car notify their rental or leasing company now before the summer holiday peak so that the VE103 certificate can be processed and sent in plenty of time to avoid the prospect of stiff financial penalties, delay and upset to holiday plans”.

Driving Abroad

Other requirements when driving in Europe:

  • Insurance: make sure you’re insured to drive in Europe. Contact your insurance provider for more information on your coverage.

 

  • Breakdown cover: nobody wants to be left stranded by the side of the road in Europe. Breakdown cover with Europe-wide jurisdiction is essential when driving on the continent.

 

  • Water: important for long trips to Europe and elsewhere. In the event that you’re lost or stuck by the side of the road, water is essential, especially when you’re away from home.

 

  • Passport: the obvious one, but easy to forget!

 

  • A healthy car: prevention is better than cure. A health check for your car is always a good idea before taking any long or arduous journeys.

Read more:

Behind the scenes at the DVLA's £5.1m number plate auction

Behind the scenes at the DVLA's £5.1m number plate auction

Behind the scenes at the DVLA's £5.1m number plate auction

I’m stood next to the DVLA’s expert auctioneer, Gary Earle, watching a determined bidder sat at the front of the room and bidding on a personalised plate: ‘111 OM’. It looked like he was going to get it for a couple of grand, but now phone bidders are pushing the price up. His mannerisms are those of someone who’s nervous. As bidding comfortably exceeds £5,000, he looks like he’s already over-budget, but doesn’t want to go home empty-handed.

The bidder holds his nerve, however, and the hammer falls in his favour at £8,800. That’s nearly £11,500 by the time you add auction fees and VAT on top.

As soon as the auction’s over, he’s out of the room with a grin on his face. I chase him out to ask why on earth he’s just spent more than £10,000 on a piece of paper (you have to buy the plastic plates separately).

“I already own another one very similar to this,” Oliver Morgan tells me. I clock a North-Eastern accent – we’re in Hertfordshire – and ask him how far he’s travelled to buy ‘111 OM’.

“I drove down from Durham,” he says. “I could have bid online or over the phone, but I missed the deadline to apply for registration and I didn’t want to miss the plate.”

Has he got an equally flashy car to put the plate on? “I’ve only got a work van, but that’s got my other plate on it. This will probably go on my girlfriend’s car for now.”

With that, he hits the road.

Tell me about a number plate auction

Behind the scenes at the DVLA's £5.1m number plate auction

The DVLA held five live auctions in 2016, with the final auction at The Hanbury Manor Hotel near Ware in Hertfordshire. An impressive £5.1 million was raised over the three-day sale, taking the total made from number plate auctions in 2016 to £25.6 million.

By the time costs for venue hire, staff and the like are taken out, that money goes to the treasury. There’s a lot to be made from vanity, it seems.

The auctions move around the country, usually located at upmarket hotels where bidders can turn buying a number plate into a few days away.

How does the DVLA choose the number plates?

How does the DVLA come up with the number plates?

“Coming up with 1,500 registrations can be a big job,” DVLA Personalised Registrations manager Adam Griffiths says. “All registrations we auction have never been on a car before. We basically think of them out of thin air and check records to see if we’ve ever sold them, or if they’ve ever been assigned to a vehicle.

“If there’s no record, we can sell them.”

Number plates have to follow certain approved formats, however, mainly to prevent them getting confused with similar-looking plates. So, ‘1 AAA’ is plate, but ‘1 A1A’ isn’t. Registrations beginning with ‘O’ weren’t issued for a long time as it looks identical to ‘0’, but the DVLA has been introducing them to auctions in recent years.

The team will also look at requests from members of the public. If someone wants a plate, and it’s never been sold or assigned to a vehicle, the DVLA can put it up for auction.

Buyers have to be careful, though. While it’s tempting to re-arrange a plate by moving or adding a space, doing so is classed as misrepresentation and can cost you a fine of up to £1,000. You may also have your plate confiscated by the DVLA. If you’ve spent thousands on a registration and tweaked it to look like your name, this could hit you hard in the wallet.

Top 5 registrations sold at Hanbury Manor

Top 5 registrations sold at Hanbury Manor

These are the most expensive plates sold at the Hanbury Manor sale. The hammer prices don’t include VAT (20%), buyer’s premium (8% + VAT) and an assignment fee (£8), so can cost thousands more than initially appears.

1: 911 O – £33,500
2: 110 A – £31,000
3: 400 B – £29,400
4: 993 TT – £28,000
5: 120 C- £27,600

Other highlights include ‘LAM 805V’ (£26,100), ‘488 M’ (£15,500) and ‘GG66 GGG’ (£11,200).

Behind the scenes at the DVLA's £5.1m number plate auction

Behind the scenes at the DVLA’s £5.1m number plate auction

Behind the scenes at the DVLA's £5.1m number plate auction

I’m stood next to the DVLA’s expert auctioneer, Gary Earle, watching a determined bidder sat at the front of the room and bidding on a personalised plate: ‘111 OM’. It looked like he was going to get it for a couple of grand, but now phone bidders are pushing the price up. His mannerisms are those of someone who’s nervous. As bidding comfortably exceeds £5,000, he looks like he’s already over-budget, but doesn’t want to go home empty-handed.

The bidder holds his nerve, however, and the hammer falls in his favour at £8,800. That’s nearly £11,500 by the time you add auction fees and VAT on top.

As soon as the auction’s over, he’s out of the room with a grin on his face. I chase him out to ask why on earth he’s just spent more than £10,000 on a piece of paper (you have to buy the plastic plates separately).

“I already own another one very similar to this,” Oliver Morgan tells me. I clock a North-Eastern accent – we’re in Hertfordshire – and ask him how far he’s travelled to buy ‘111 OM’.

“I drove down from Durham,” he says. “I could have bid online or over the phone, but I missed the deadline to apply for registration and I didn’t want to miss the plate.”

Has he got an equally flashy car to put the plate on? “I’ve only got a work van, but that’s got my other plate on it. This will probably go on my girlfriend’s car for now.”

With that, he hits the road.

Tell me about a number plate auction

Behind the scenes at the DVLA's £5.1m number plate auction

The DVLA held five live auctions in 2016, with the final auction at The Hanbury Manor Hotel near Ware in Hertfordshire. An impressive £5.1 million was raised over the three-day sale, taking the total made from number plate auctions in 2016 to £25.6 million.

By the time costs for venue hire, staff and the like are taken out, that money goes to the treasury. There’s a lot to be made from vanity, it seems.

The auctions move around the country, usually located at upmarket hotels where bidders can turn buying a number plate into a few days away.

How does the DVLA choose the number plates?

How does the DVLA come up with the number plates?

“Coming up with 1,500 registrations can be a big job,” DVLA Personalised Registrations manager Adam Griffiths says. “All registrations we auction have never been on a car before. We basically think of them out of thin air and check records to see if we’ve ever sold them, or if they’ve ever been assigned to a vehicle.

“If there’s no record, we can sell them.”

Number plates have to follow certain approved formats, however, mainly to prevent them getting confused with similar-looking plates. So, ‘1 AAA’ is plate, but ‘1 A1A’ isn’t. Registrations beginning with ‘O’ weren’t issued for a long time as it looks identical to ‘0’, but the DVLA has been introducing them to auctions in recent years.

The team will also look at requests from members of the public. If someone wants a plate, and it’s never been sold or assigned to a vehicle, the DVLA can put it up for auction.

Buyers have to be careful, though. While it’s tempting to re-arrange a plate by moving or adding a space, doing so is classed as misrepresentation and can cost you a fine of up to £1,000. You may also have your plate confiscated by the DVLA. If you’ve spent thousands on a registration and tweaked it to look like your name, this could hit you hard in the wallet.

Top 5 registrations sold at Hanbury Manor

Top 5 registrations sold at Hanbury Manor

These are the most expensive plates sold at the Hanbury Manor sale. The hammer prices don’t include VAT (20%), buyer’s premium (8% + VAT) and an assignment fee (£8), so can cost thousands more than initially appears.

1: 911 O – £33,500
2: 110 A – £31,000
3: 400 B – £29,400
4: 993 TT – £28,000
5: 120 C- £27,600

Other highlights include ‘LAM 805V’ (£26,100), ‘488 M’ (£15,500) and ‘GG66 GGG’ (£11,200).

DVLA: £412m lost tax disc revenue 'completely wrong'

DVLA: £412m lost tax disc revenue ‘completely wrong’

DVLA: £412m lost tax disc revenue 'completely wrong'

The DVLA has hit back at reports that the scrapping of the paper tax disc has led to a £412m loss in revenue caused by drivers dodging vehicle excise duty (VED).

A freedom of information investigation by the Financial Times found that the DVLA collected £5.71 billion in road tax between October 2014 and September 2015 – the 12 months following the abolition of tax discs.

That’s a drop of £412 million compared to the same period a year before – something the FT has put down to tax dodgers getting away with not paying VED.

But the DVLA has disputed this – saying that the shortfall is actually because the new system allows drivers to pay monthly rather than for a year upfront.

The DVLA’s chief executive, Oliver Morley, said: “It is completely wrong to say there has been a £412m loss in revenue from vehicle tax. It is not correct to compare the 2015-16 revenue with the previous year.

“This is because from 1 November 2014, customers could choose to spread their payments over 12 months with direct debits. Previously, all vehicle tax would have been paid upfront, which is why there is a difference in the monthly cash receipts year on year.”

Using the new system, officials can check digitally if a car has been taxed rather than relying on a paper disc in the window.

It can also automatically issue fines if the owner of a vehicle hasn’t taxed it or declared it as SORN (off the road).

Despite this, the Department for Transport warned last year that the number of untaxed vehicles on UK roads was ‘much higher’ than two years previous. It said that this increase in tax evasion could be costing the DVLA £80m a year in lost revenue.

DVLA: £412m lost tax disc revenue 'completely wrong'

DVLA: £412m lost tax disc revenue 'completely wrong'

DVLA: £412m lost tax disc revenue 'completely wrong'

The DVLA has hit back at reports that the scrapping of the paper tax disc has led to a £412m loss in revenue caused by drivers dodging vehicle excise duty (VED).

A freedom of information investigation by the Financial Times found that the DVLA collected £5.71 billion in road tax between October 2014 and September 2015 – the 12 months following the abolition of tax discs.

That’s a drop of £412 million compared to the same period a year before – something the FT has put down to tax dodgers getting away with not paying VED.

But the DVLA has disputed this – saying that the shortfall is actually because the new system allows drivers to pay monthly rather than for a year upfront.

The DVLA’s chief executive, Oliver Morley, said: “It is completely wrong to say there has been a £412m loss in revenue from vehicle tax. It is not correct to compare the 2015-16 revenue with the previous year.

“This is because from 1 November 2014, customers could choose to spread their payments over 12 months with direct debits. Previously, all vehicle tax would have been paid upfront, which is why there is a difference in the monthly cash receipts year on year.”

Using the new system, officials can check digitally if a car has been taxed rather than relying on a paper disc in the window.

It can also automatically issue fines if the owner of a vehicle hasn’t taxed it or declared it as SORN (off the road).

Despite this, the Department for Transport warned last year that the number of untaxed vehicles on UK roads was ‘much higher’ than two years previous. It said that this increase in tax evasion could be costing the DVLA £80m a year in lost revenue.

Car tax disc

DVLA loses £93 million after paper tax disc scrapped

Car tax discThe DVLA has revealed revenue from vehicle excise duty fell by £93 million in the year following the scrapping of the paper tax disc – significantly more even than the DVLA’s predicted VED loss.

The DVLA’s accounts show vehicle tax revenue fell from £6.023 billion in the 2014/15 financial year to £5.930 billion in 2015/16.

The RAC, which warned the DVLA about the loss in income, is now concerned the shortfall is even greater than the DVLA itself predicted. It also cites 2015 DVLA projections that revealed there could be 560,000 unlicensed vehicles on British roads – compared to around 210,000 in 2013.

The DVLA admitted in November 2015 that the number of unlicensed cars on British roads had doubled since the new paperless tax disc system was introduced.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “Some may argue that a £93 million loss is only £13 million higher than expected, but this still represents an increase of £58 million on the corresponding period before the tax disc was abandoned and far exceeds the £10 million savings arising from no longer issuing tax discs.

“This loss is a significant sum and one that merits further investigation.”

The motoring organisation concedes it might be because there are more low CO2 cars on the road, but is still calling for another roadside survey of unlicensed vehicles this summer, a year earlier than it normally would occur.

“We just hope that this doesn’t prove to be the tip of the iceberg and that the figure does not keep on rising, especially as the DVLA had predicted the new system would lead to savings of £10 million.”

Revealed: the once popular cars vanishing from our roads

Revealed: the once popular cars vanishing from our roads

Revealed: the once popular cars vanishing from our roadsIn the long term, popular cars are the victims of their own success. Huge sales figures and a swollen market leads to depressed values and a spiralling decline into oblivion. What’s cool today might be so incredibly dated tomorrow. Allow us to take you on a drive down memory lane as we remember a selection of popular cars, predominantly from the 80s and 90s, that are seemingly vanishing from our roads. The data has been sourced from the DVLA and refers to cars actually taxed and on the road. There will be others languishing in garages and back gardens up and down the land.

Vauxhall CavalierRevealed: the once popular cars vanishing from our roads

Number on the road: 3,857

Compared to some of the other cars on this list, the number of surviving Vauxhall Cavaliers is relatively healthy. But when you consider that some 1.8 million Cavaliers were sold across a 20-year period, you can appreciate why this is, relatively speaking, such a tiny amount. The majority of the survivors will be the later Mk3 models.

Ford CortinaRevealed: the once popular cars vanishing from our roads

Number on the road: 3,619

There was a time when, even if your dad didn’t drive a Cortina, you could almost guarantee that your best mate’s dad did. Over the course of 20 years, the Ford Cortina pulled up a chair and established itself as part of the British furniture. There was a Cortina for all: from a basic ‘my first company car’ special to a blistering Lotus version.

Ford SierraRevealed: the once popular cars vanishing from our roads

Number on the road: 3,182

Nearly 3.5 million Ford Sierras were built in the 1980s and early 1990s, but it didn’t get off to the best of starts. The space-age styling sent buyers fleeing to the Vauxhall Cavalier by way of a protest. But once the nation had come to terms with the ‘oddball’ looks, the Sierra became a firm favourite for fleet buyers, families and fans of fast Fords.

Fiat UnoRevealed: the once popular cars vanishing from our roads

Number on the road: 367

The Giugiaro-penned Fiat Uno was once a familiar sight on the roads of Britain. This should come as no surprise given that 8.8 million Unos were produced in its lifetime. Today, fewer than 400 are still enjoying active service on UK roads. Sadly, a mere two-dozen are the wonderful Turbo versions.

Skoda FavoritRevealed: the once popular cars vanishing from our roads

Number on the road: 294

The Favorit was Skoda’s first front-wheel-drive car and the last one it produced before the takeover by Volkswagen. At the time it was arguably the best car to emerge from Eastern Europe, which is why close to 50,000 of them found homes in the UK. It was replaced by the Felicia, which in turn became the Fabia.

Austin/Rover Montego (including MG)Revealed: the once popular cars vanishing from our roads

Number on the road: 190

Once upon a time, the Austin Montego was the choice of the patriotic sales rep. Based on the Maestro hatchback, the Montego was actually pretty good. Today, not enough people care about it, which is why fewer than 200 remain on the road.

Citroen CXRevealed: the once popular cars vanishing from our roads

Number on the road: 137

In 2014, the Citroen CX celebrated its 40th anniversary. First unveiled at the 1974 Paris Motor Show, the Citroen CX would go on to sell 1.2 million units across the globe. There are fewer than 150 on Britain’s roads today.

Toyota Space CruiserRevealed: the once popular cars vanishing from our roads

Number on the road: 76

The Toyota Space Cruiser boldly ventured where few other vehicles had been before – into the fledgling MPV sector. Back in the day, people carriers were rather crude, van-based affairs, but they did help to establish a hugely successful sector.

Alfa Romeo 33Revealed: the once popular cars vanishing from our roads

Number on the road: 45

The Alfa Romeo 33 arrived a decade after the launch of the Alfasud – the car it was designed to replaced. Sadly, despite early promise, the 33 failed to capture the magic of the ‘Sud, although just under 900,000 were built before production ceased in 1994.

SEAT MalagaRevealed: the once popular cars vanishing from our roads

Number on the road: 1

One?! Just one SEAT Malaga? Can it be true? Let us know.

All information is based on the DVLA data as of June 2016. Numbers do not include cars registered with the DVLA as off the road. Numbers should only be taken as a guide.

DVLA

DVLA phone lines jammed by industrial action over pay dispute

DVLA

The DVLA has warned that customers may experience longer waiting times as staff at its Swansea call centre walk out over a pay dispute.

The strike begins today and will last until Sunday – with 650 Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union members taking action.

In a statement, the DVLA said: “It’s possible that DVLA’s Contact Centre may offer a reduced service and you may experience longer waiting times when contacting us by phone or social media.”

PCS said the dispute has been trigged by the DVLA’s decision not to pay an allowance for Saturday working to contact-centre staff recruited since the start of 2015, and a 50% cut for staff who do receive it from 1 September.

You can now tax your car online via the DVLA’s website, and even notify them if you’ve sold a vehicle.