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Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) 2002-03 Trust Statement

Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, today reported to Parliament that the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency had collected £4.6 billion of vehicle excise duty in 2002-03, although some £200 million of revenue was lost through evasion.

National evasion levels have risen to 4.5 per cent of the total revenue that should be raised, from 3.9 per cent in 1999. Motorcycles were estimated to have the highest evasion rate at 22.9 per cent. Evasion levels have risen in seven of 11 regions in Great Britain, with the greatest increases occurring in the East of England and Greater London.

The DVLA deploys a variety of anti-evasion measures including wheelclamping and the use of automatic number-plate reading equipment, and these generated some £69 million of revenue in the form of fines in 2002-03. A further £41 million is estimated to have been generated from ‘induced’ relicensing (that is, the deterrent effect of measures such as publicity campaigns and prosecutions).

Since June 1999, the DVLA has given rebates totalling £180m for cleaner and smaller engines under the Graduated VED scheme. However, an estimated £37 million has not yet been claimed by vehicle owners.

The DVLA played a key role in the introduction by Transport for London of the congestion charging scheme and the Agency responded readily to the new technological challenges that the scheme posed. Transport for London agreed to contribute to the ongoing running costs of the system. According to the NAO, the Government needs to consider how best to ensure that the DVLA can meet the needs of other local authorities who introduce similar schemes, whilst at the same time recovering its costs from those authorities.

"It is clear that the DVLA continues to recognise the importance of tackling the evasion of vehicle excise duty. But evasion levels are rising and there remains considerable scope for anti-evasion measures to be extended and deployed in a more coherent manner, in particular through the more widespread use of automatic number-plate readers and increased collaboration with local authorities and police forces."

Sir John

Notes for Editors

  1. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is an executive agency of the Department for Transport. It employs some 5,800 staff, mainly at its Swansea headquarters and operates a network of forty regional offices across Great Britain. Its annual operating costs total some £350 million.
  2. Press notices and reports are available from the date of publication on the NAO website at https://www.nao.org.uk/ Hard copies can be obtained from The Stationery Office on 0845 702 3474.
  3. The Comptroller and Auditor General, Sir John Bourn, is the head of the National Audit Office which employs some 800 staff. He and the NAO are totally independent of Government. He certifies the accounts of all Government departments and a wide range of other public sector bodies; and he has statutory authority to report to Parliament on the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which departments and other bodies have used their resources.

PN: 58/03