asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the results of his Department's campaigns against motorists failing to display and have road fund licences; what has been the result of such campaigns; to what extent those dealt with also failed to have Ministry of Transport road test certificates and insurance; and whether he will make a statement.
Sixteen police forces have mounted special campaigns since the beginning of 1980 in co-operation with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Centre to detect motorists evading payment of vehicle excise duty. In addition, the centre has taken part in campaigns mounted by two London boroughs to deal with unlicensed, parked, or abandoned vehicles. Further campaigns are planned. I am grateful to those police and local authorities which have mounted campaigns or plan to do so.The campaigns are designed not only to catch offenders but also, by means of advance publicity, to encourage motorists to relicense voluntarily rather than face prosecution. They have undoubtedly been a success.For example, a single month's campaign in Sussex last year resulted in over 900 prosecutions and about 20,000 more licensed vehicles in the county. The police have advised that about one third of the prosecutions involve other road safety offences. Failure to provide valid test certificates and insurance are a major part of these offences.