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DVLA executive says new tax system is better, simpler and safer

Britain is currently gearing up for a large change in motoring, as tax discs move from physical copies on dashboards to a digital system. For many drivers, particularly those with personalised plates, it’s a time to be relished, with drivers able to clear the clutter from their cars. Now, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) chief, Oliver Morley, has explained the new system will be better, simpler and safer for all concerned.

One of the reasons the latest change has come about is due to cost-saving exercises. The DVLA has been tasked with reducing costs by 30 per cent over the coming three years. However, Mr Morley says the organisation has already made staff savings, explaining that of the £500m business, £350m worth of costs are not related to staffing. It means that the majority of the 30 per cent reduction won’t come from employee costs, and that the appropriate changes have already been made.

Mr Morley went onto explain that the IT spend for the DVLA is huge: “There is an agenda around bringing services online, we are, though, fundamentally a multi-channel business,” he said, adding, “We don’t expect at any stage not to be processing people’s applications and processing cheques. We do 3.5m cheques a year, and that’s still going to be the same for the banks and its true for all of us, because people like using cheques. So the question here is not about services or jobs per se, it is about how we deliver those services, can we do them more economically and, particularly with the IT side, before you even talk about people, we are spending upwards of £80m a year on IT.”

In addition to scrapping the paper tax disc, the DVLA are also investigating the possibility of removing the paper counterpart for driving licences. Mr Morley said this was because the business feel there’s a need to keep things as simple as possible, and having counterparts complicates matters. Simplicity is a key factor, he explained. For example, complicated forms need to be eradicated so that, if people are unsafe to drive, they can easily notify the DVLA instead of having to submit complex forms.

For now, the only major change motorists will see is not having to display their tax disc in their car. However, there seems to be a raft of possible changes in the future that drivers will have to be aware of.

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