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Vehicle Excise Duty

Volume 130: debated on Wednesday 30 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the total cost of administering the collection of vehicle excise duty in the latest year for which figures are available, broken down by (a) collection, (b) detection of evasion, (c) prosecution and (d) other.

A breakdown of costs in the form requested cannot be provided. The function of licensing vehicles and collecting vehicle excise duty (VED) cannot readily be separated from the function of running a register of vehicles. The total cost of performing these functions together in the United Kingdom in 1986–87 was £99 million. Some £8 million to £9 million of that was Department of Transport costs of detecting, pursuing and prosecuting VED evaders. Police and traffic wardens contribute substantially to the detection of VED evasion in the course of their normal duties, and costs are likewise incurred by the Crown Prosecution Service.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the total revenue collected from vehicle excise duty in the most recent year for which figures are available; what estimates he has of the total revenue owing but not collected in that year; and if he will make a statement.

The net amount of vehicle excise duty collected in the United Kingdom in 1986–87 was £2,520 million. Estimated loss of revenue for that period through evasion (based on the evidence of a 1984 survey) was about £105 million. The Government are determined to increase the effectiveness of enforcement action against VED evasion. In 1986–87 £23 million was recovered in fines, back duty and out-of-court settlements, more than twice the 1982–83 total. Campaigns are an effective way of deterring evasion. Fifteen campaigns have been held during 1987–88, and 14 are already planned for the rest of the calendar year 1988.