R.I.P. Car tax disc
- 5 December 2013
The car tax disc has been given its own expiry date, after nearly a century of windscreen duty.
Tax disc, and its close relation Vehicle Excise Duty, were introduced in the UK in the Roads Act 1920. Its original role in life was to pay for the building and upkeep of roads, but since 1937 the proceeds have been dropped into a big Treasury pot - something mourners may bear in mind when contemplating their comedy disc holders for the last time, with their declaration: "I've paid my tax, now fix some [unrepeatable adjective] pot holes." Or when shouting similar indignant sentiments (with adjectives) at cyclists. The truth is that Tax Disc money is as likely to be paying for canal dredging or bank regulation as it is for cats' eyes.
Its friends may point to its one big advantage - the ability to shop annoying neighbours to the council - but for many drivers Tax Disc was always an easy way to induce low-level paranoia. Firstly, there was the awkward process of separating the perforated disc from its square setting without ripping the thing in two. But there was also the worry about displaying the right disc at the right time. For the most fastidious of motorists, this could mean creeping out in pyjamas at midnight on the appointed date to replace it.
There was also the process of trying to make sure the plastic holder stuck to the windscreen, and the possibility of small children developing an interest in taking the disc in and out of the holder and replacing it backwards, later costing their father £60 in fines for "failing to display". True story.
Its detractors' reasons for failing to display were listed by the DVLA earlier this year, when it published the top 10 excuses for not renewing. They included "I fell out of a tree picking plums and broke both my arms", and "I took too much Viagra and couldn't leave the house".
Add your tributes using the form on the right.
Six months, a year at most, they said. Mike , Newcastle upon Tyne.
The disc was like a giant round stamp and would take a lot of licking. Keith, Hull, UK
Disc expired whilst on Duty. Phil Sears, Dorking UK
I guess no disc can be a-round forever. Phil Lewin, Loughborough, UK