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Vehicle Excise Duty

Volume 982: debated on Tuesday 1 April 1980

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asked the Minister of Transport (1) what is his estimate of the loss to public funds for the past five years caused by failure of motorists to pay their road fund licences; and to what extent he expects these sums to increase in the future due to the increase in the road tax;(2) what action he is taking, or proposes to take, to ensure that the new road tax is paid by all those who now have vehicles on the public highway in view of the long-standing failure of thousands of motorists to pay their road fund licences;(3) when there was last a national road check on the number of vehicles using the roads without a current road fund licence; what were the results of such a check; when he expects to arrange a further check; and whether he will make a statement.

A survey carried out by my Department in 1977–78 suggested that evasion of VED on cars could be between 7 per cent. and 9 per cent. At this rate the loss of revenue on cars over the past five years would have been between £230 million and £300 million.I am determined that evasion should be tackled more effectively and I am studying various ways in which this might be done.A campaign against evasion was conducted in Nottinghamshire in February. The preliminary results are very encouraging and I have today written to the chief constable expressing my appreciation of the work done by the police in co-operation with my Department in this enforcement drive. The success in Nottinghamshire makes it well worth while undertaking similar campaigns in other parts of the country. A number of other police forces are interested in cooperating with my Department in this and the next campaign will start soon in Warwickshire.