The end of the road for the tax disc?

  • Paper tax disc may be replaced by computer system
  • Driving license paper counterpart could also be axed
  • Is it a good idea? Vote in our poll to have your say

The paper tax disc has adorned the windscreen of cars across the UK for 90 years, but if Government proposals come into force it could soon be a thing of the past.

Plans for a reform published by the Department for Transport in December recommend scrapping the tax disc and replacing it with an online database system. The aim behind the proposal, as part of a Government consultation paper put forward by Roads Minister Stephen Hammond, is to cut costs and “remove the need for unnecessary paper.”

The idea centres around the growing use of computer-based systems – such as numberplate recognition cameras – which can detect whether or not a car is insured or taxed instantly. The proposal argues that it is no longer necessary to display proof of tax on a vehicle’s windscreen when police can instantly check if it is taxed via the DVLA’s database.

The paper counterpart of the driving licence could also be scrapped under the same plans, and tax disc reminders could be sent by email or text rather than by post.

Around 36 million vehicles currently carry a tax disc. The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has estimated that scrapping the disc would save the Government around £90m a year.

The Government has rejected plans to discontinue the tax disc in the past, however. RAC technical director David Bizley said: “If the disc was to be dispensed with we need to be confident that drivers of untaxed vehicles will be detected as uninsured drivers need to be kept off the road. At the moment motorists involved in accidents can easily see from the tax disc if there is an issue about insurance or roadworthiness which they might need to contact the police about. This is an obvious area of concern which should be addressed in the proposal.”

Currently the Post Office has a seven-year contract to supply tax discs worth £450m.

Roads Minister Stephen Hammond said: “If you drive, run a business or pay taxes you will be a customer of ours and I hope you will have your say about how we can improve the services we offer you. There is more that can be done and this consultation is about the Government listening to its customers before agreeing the way forward.”

So do you agree that scrapping the tax disc is a good idea? Vote in our poll and let us know what you think: