Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, today reported to Parliament that the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) was making good progress in tackling vehicle excise duty evasion.
Overall the Agency collected gross revenues in excess of £5.2 billion in 2000-01 (an increase of nearly £200 million from 1999-2000). The Agency continues to focus on tackling the evasion of vehicle excise duty, which is estimated to run at 3.9% across Great Britain. Around £95 million of additional duty was generated during the year by the Agency’s enforcement measures, including wheel-clamping and the introduction of automated number plate readers.
The Agency estimates that over 360,000 motorists have voluntarily re-licensed their vehicles as a result of the high-profile wheel-clamping campaigns undertaken in conjunction with local police forces. Over 70,000 unlicensed vehicles have been clamped, of which 36,000 have been disposed of – mainly by crushing.
In October 2001, following a successful pilot, an eleven-vehicle fleet of automatic number plate readers commenced operations, working with police forces across the United Kingdom to detect unlicensed vehicles whilst they are in use on the roads.
Sir John also found that the Agency has satisfactorily implemented the Graduated Vehicle Excise Duty reforms announced by the Chancellor in his 1999 and 2000 budgets. These introduced differential charging bands by size of engine and level of carbon dioxide emissions, and created an entitlement to refunds of duty on some 3 million vehicle licences. At the same time, the Agency handled a complex reform of the Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) excise duty scheme, which also resulted in the processing of refunds of duty for some 240,000 HGVs.