The use of paper tax discs for cars was first introduced back in 1921. In October 2014, the requirement to display a motor disc on a vehicle windscreen was removed. Cars are now checked against the DVLA’s electronic register which the public can use to check the tax status of any vehicle online as well as using automatic vehicle number plate recognition technology.

At the time the changes were introduced, the National Audit Office had claimed there would be no ‘material increase in lost revenue’ as a result. However, new figures have been released following a Freedom of Information request by the Financial Times that clearly show that the amount of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) collected in the first six months following the introduction of the new rules was £223m less that the amount collected between October and March a year earlier. The full year figures are expected to be published following the EU referendum vote on 23 June.

Oliver Morley, DVLA chief executive, said:
‘Almost 99 per cent of all vehicles on the road are correctly taxed: that’s around £6bn in vehicle tax passed to the Treasury every year. We write to every registered vehicle keeper in the UK to remind them when their tax is due and we have introduced a range of measures to make vehicle tax easy to pay — such as direct debit or online. At the same time we are taking action against those who are determined to break the law.’