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Owners of unroadworthy old cars and those with cars temporarily off road could be taxed for just keeping them on their drive or in the garage if a new revenue-raising proposal from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is approved.
The new tax is revealed in a consultation document recently issued by the DVLA which details plans to introduce the tax on all cars registered on their computer system, including those that are not used on the road by their owners.
The "Fee Proposals" consultation, which closes on November 8, claims the new tax is necessary to cover the cost of issuing photo licences to all drivers, as required by the European Union.
An annual fee of £4.50 is proposed on all vehicles kept on the DVLA's computer. For most cars used on the road, this extra tax will be collected with the vehicle excise duty.
It will also apply to disabled drivers, pre-1973 classics and cars kept off the road under the Government's SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) regulations. None of these categories currently pay vehicle excise duty (VED)
Nigel Humphries, spokesman for the Association of British Drivers, said: "This means that people are going to have to pay tax to keep their vehicles in their own garage.
"The sum of £4.50 a year hardly seems worth the DVLA's trouble to collect it where it cannot be done through VED.
"However, it is a dangerous precedent and a matter of principle. Why should motorists pay anything for the details of property merely to be held on someone's computer, and who is to say that the fee will remain at £4.50?
"The Government has a long history of introducing taxes at low levels and then increasing them year on year.
"This new registration tax gives them the mechanism for abolishing VED, adding the cost of this to fuel tax and then increasing the registration fee.
"This will automatically wipe out the benefits enjoyed by ultra-low mileage classic car owners and disabled drivers alike, as well as creating a punitive charge for those storing cars off the road"
Extract from South Wales Echo, Friday October 8 2004
- Maxine Ashford