PRETTY WINDSCREENS: UK fashion designer Pam Hogg is one of the artists featured on the limited-edition licence discs. UK paper licence discs are obsolete as of today, October 1 2014. Image: Newspress
LONDON, England – Renewing car licences is as much a pain in South Africa as it is in the UK though SA drivers have to fork out money every year after standing a long queues at a traffic department then battle to get the darn disc stuck on a windscreen.
Lucky for UK drivers, then, that after 93 years there will still be the annual tax but no more paper discs. Not only will this mean less fuss but the UK’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency says the new system effective as of today - October 1 2014 - will save the administration the equivalent of R142-million a year.
The UK's Freight Transport Association has reassured vehicle owners that the change in the vehicle tax system “should not cause problems for drivers, but they should be aware of the new process”.
The FTA’s Driver Licensing and Vehicle Registration's Ian Gallagher said: “It's imperative that vehicle keepers (his word) and potential new vehicle owners are aware that from October 1 vehicle tax will no longer be transferable when a vehicle is sold or ownership transferred.
"The new keeper (there it is again!) must pay tax for the vehicle to be used on to a public road and previous owner will receive a refund for any outstanding full months.”
Renewal reminders will still be sent out and owners (keepers, remember!) in the UK will still process their vehicle in the same way - electronically, online or at a local post office.
Gallagher said: "This is a fundamental shift in the way the DVLA carries out its business. The removal of the paper disc which was introduced in 1921 is just a first step towards further services moving online."
Vehicle tax enforcement will be carried out by cameras which will highlight the number plates of untaxed vehicles. The government says that delivering more services digitally will help it cut costs: switching to digital tax discs will cost £8-million to set up but save £2-million a year in administration costs within three years
But all is not lost… some artists are turning the tax-disc holders into limited-edition artworks as part of a project of the annual Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair and “aims to give the tax disc a new lease on life”.
Vauxhall Motors is encouraging UK drivers to celebrate the demise of the tax disc by turning the now empty windscreen spot into a motoring gallery through a range of miniature artworks. The series of disc holders will be branded ‘Pretty Taxing’.
Fair founder and curator Karen Ashton explained: "Windscreen adornments are somehow intrinsic to the iconography of the car. Now car owners (sorry, keepers!) can curate their windscreens with custom-made are!"
Pretty Taxing artworks will cost the equivalent of R560. Visit the website to order.