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End of the road for the tax disc after 93 years: Drivers will no longer have to display disc on windscreens from today • Motorists will still have to pay tax, but do not have to display disc • Change is expected to save the Government £10million a year • Experts say thousands risk fine because they haven't had enough warning
Drivers can tear up their tax discs today as they are scrapped after 93 years. The AA said the move marked ‘a poignant moment in motoring history – and the end of an era’. Its president Edmund King added: ‘The car windscreen will look naked without a disc.’ Motorists will still have to pay tax on their vehicles, but will no longer have to display a disc in their windscreen. The change is part of the Government’s so-called red-tape challenge to cut paperwork and is expected to save £10million a year.
Police and other agencies now have computers that use a camera to read a registration plate and check it on a database of cars that have tax, insurance and an MOT.
But experts say thousands of drivers risk a £1,000 fine because they have not had enough warning about the disc’s abolition.
Critics said the physical paper disc in the windscreen was a timely reminder to drivers to pay their road tax.
And it alerted house-holders to cars abandoned with expired taxes disc in their street.
Nearly three million used cars change hands each year, but a poll found fewer than half of drivers knew the change prevented car tax being passed to new owners.
And one in six were unsure of where to now pay the road tax. More than a quarter 26 per cent of drivers did not think the change is a good thing for consumers.
Tim Marriott, spokesman for website Auto Trader, which conducted the survey, said: ‘There has been a lack of guidance and advice.’
The RAC feared the end of the paper disc could see the number of motorists failing to pay road tax spiralling as high as the number who drive without insurance - leading to a £167million a year loss to the Exchequer.
But the DVLA has said there is ‘no basis’ to the RAC figures, adding that it was ‘nonsense’ to suggest that getting rid of the tax disc would lead to an increase in vehicle tax evasion.
The change is a blow to people who collect tax discs – though this drying up of supply could ironically increase the value of their now finite collections.
The change has been made under the Government’s ‘red tape challenge’ to cut paperwork and will save £10m a year of taxpayers’ money, say ministers.