It is now more than six months since the tax disc (if not the tax) was abolished. One of the key changes which came in alongside the removal of the physical paper disc means that when a car is sold the tax is cancelled, the seller receives a rebate for any tax outstanding (for full months only) and it is the responsibility of the new owner to re-tax the car.
Unfortunately it seems as if the message has not got through to everyone.
Figures obtained by the BBC Radio 4 Your and Yours programme from the DVLA show that after the change on 1 October 2014 the number of vehicles being clamped for non-payment jumped from the region of 5,000 a month to around 8,000 a month.
No. of untaxed vehicles clamped since January 2014
Presuming that the change in the process did not coincide with a sudden upsurge in lawlessness amongst drivers then the conclusion must be that the government’s information campaign didn’t work and normally conscientious car owners are being caught out.
A clue that this might be the case appeared in the weeks before 1 October 2014 when a reported survey of 1,000 drivers showed that some 40% did not know anything was happening and even amongst those that did, many failed to appreciate the full implications.
The DVLA says it is writing to every new vehicle keeper to inform them that it must be taxed before use and also sending warning letters as a reminder to those people who still fail to tax their vehicles.
The DVLA also points out that some 23 million drivers have applied for tax since October so in the grand scheme of things the numbers being clamped for evasion are small. Fine, but not much consolation for those many thousands of drivers who still feel they are being unfairly penalised.
After the 2010 general election there were huge cuts made to the marketing budgets of government departments. Perhaps some of those cuts could be reversed after the 2015 election.