January 02, 2004

What They are Doing (In Their Own Words)

What better way to start off the new year than with new taxes! Of course it is the Government's favourite kind of tax - the stealth taxes. You know, the kind of taxes you aren't supposed to know are taxes. But a tax by any other name would smell as foul. The means the Government is using to raise new revenue these days is the automatic, unappealable fine.

As of yesterday, motorist will be automatically fined 80 for not renewing their tax disc. Even if the car is off the road and the owner is out of the country or in hospital, there will be no allowances made. The DVLA has refused to appoint an arbiter to consider extenuating circumstances. There will be no appeals panel. This means that even though the new system will be infested with bugs (as the London congestion charging system has proved to be), the public will bear the burden of the mistakes.

Anyone who does not renew their tax disc will be assumed to be guilty unless the DVLA has received written notification that the vehicle has been sold or is off the road.

By the DVLA's own predictions which they are willing to make public, more than 100,000 people a month will be fined. They expect to raise about 40 million a year -- twice as much money as speed cameras. The DVLA even admitted that many drivers will be caught complete unaware of the new rules. Does the DVLA care? To quote Jeff Mumford, the DVLA deputy manager: "The registration system in Britain has been too friendly. We are looking to slowly tighten the screw."

I'm not sure if he meant that as a noun or a verb, but either way, there isn't a better word for it.

Posted by david at January 2, 2004 09:31 AM | TrackBack