Experts may have “underplayed” the importance of the simple disc in stopping large amounts of tax evasion, says the expert. Mr King said the paper discs acted as a reminder to motorists their car tax was about to expire which would encourage them to renew.
But, the AA President said the disc would also encourage other motorists and neighbours to report cars for possible evasion.
Data released late last year from the Department for Transport shows tax evasion rates remain at record high levels since the discs were scrapped.
DfT data predicts that 634,000 British drivers were evading car tax charges in 2019, up from the estimated 210,000 seen in 2013 before the ban was introduced.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr King said it was “interesting” the evasion rates had increased since the discs were removed.
He also claimed he had argued whether removing the discs was really necessary before the ban was implemented half a decade ago.
He said: “At the time we kind of said is it really necessary to get rid of this tax disc because there’s no doubt it is a reminder in your windscreen.
“Also the other effect that people also underestimated, if a car was on the road and it had a tax disc that was six months out of date, people walking past would notice it.
“So if it was a neighbour it would be pretty embarrassing to have a car there.
“People would report them to DVLA or report it to the police saying I think this car might be dumped because its tax is six months out of date.”
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It was estimated abolishing the paper discs would save the DVLA around £7million.
However, a stark rise in evasion rates since the new online portal was launched has left a hole in budgets.
DfT estimates have revealed around £94million was lost last year in potential revenue loss.
However, the DfT says some of this would have been later recovered through enforcement activity or late payments.
“Possibly we did miss a bit of a trick there. The paper disc wasn’t that much of a hassle really, you could still buy it online and get it through the post.”
DfT data shows Northern Ireland is the highest region in the UK for tax evasion with almost 2.5 percent of drivers breaking the law,
Scotland is the second highest nation in the United Kingdom followed by England and Wales.
Evasion rates in England are highest in the East of England with an estimated 1.7 percent of motorists dodging the fares.
DfT analysis shows more than half of vehicles not paying car tax have only been unlicensed for two months or less.
Published at Thu, 09 Apr 2020 10:47:00 +0000