The Great VED Rip-Off

Data protection. Looking after your privacy. This is something that is taken quite seriously by many businesses and individuals but not, it seems, by government departments like the DVLA. This outfit will basically flog your personal details to any beggar who is prepared to stump up the necessary.

Furthermore, it doesn’t end there. Not content with raking in the dosh as above, the DVLA has allegedly also covertly trousered an estimated thirty-eight million pounds a year by virtue of double charging on road tax or ‘Vehicle Excise Duty’ as it is properly called. Personally I don’t feel duty bound at all but there you go.

Getting rid of the anachronism that was the tax disc made sense in this digital age and presumably saved money to boot. After all, in one of the most spied upon nations in Europe, our cars are probably checked for legality twenty times a day by cameras as we drive about.

The problem, as you may well have found out by now, is that VED cannot carry over to a new owner when you sell your car. You, the seller, must now claim it back – an inconvenience – and the new buyer must take instant action to be street legal before driving it away; also a hassle, especially for people who may not be ‘technologically savvy’ and who choose to do things the old way.

Here’s the catch – it falls upon the seller to claim back the tax which is only refunded in monthly blocks; part months will not be paid back. Also, buyers must buy tax from the first of the month. So, if you treat yourself to a used motor on February 28th, you must cough up from February 1st. It’s a system that was promoted as being more efficient but is in fact a blatant rip-off.

You cannot tell me that the gnomes of the DVLA hadn’t spotted this little wheeze however disingenuously they may claim otherwise. As Edmund King, President of the AA has said, “If banks can calculate interest by the day then the DVLA can refund tax for parts of months”. This devious bit of revenue-raising has been known about since before the new system even started but thanks to ‘election fever’ it has quietly been swept under the fraying, soiled carpet of government.

It doesn’t end there. In the first three months of this year there where sixty percent more cars clamped than for the same period last year and it has been suggested that at least part of this increase can be attributed to confusion over VED.

We now have a new government that doesn’t have one hand tied behind its back by coalition. David Cameron remarked in the last parliament that ‘the war on motorists is over’. Well, here’s the news – it isn’t. The war on motorists isn’t over, it is just being fought on new fronts. Maybe now is the time to tell your latest fresh-faced MP that it is time they got off our case.

Geoff Maxted