HL Deb 18 April 1986 vol 473 cc875-6
Lord Campbell of Croy

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will seek to accelerate action to prevent the use of motor cars on the roads without valid vehicle licences.

Viscount Davidson

My Lords, vigorous action is already in hand. The number of offenders prosecuted or dealt with by out of court settlements, over 315,000 last year, was 9 per cent. up on the previous year and 58 per cent. higher than in 1982. We are determined that VED evasion should be as unattractive and difficult as possible.

Lord Campbell of Croy

My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for that reply. However, is he aware that in some areas there are long delays before cases are brought against transgressing owners? In the meantime the cars continue to be used. Because many of these owners are also not insured they constitute a serious danger to other road users.

Viscount Davidson

My Lords, I note my noble friend's concern and share it, but I can assure him that further steps to deter evaders are being taken this year. These include the allocation of 75 extra posts for enforcement work and the arrangement of a record number of local intensive campaigns. Together with a new computer system coming on stream in DVLC, these developments will help to speed up the processing of excise offence reports.

Lord Underhill

My Lords, the information that the Minister has given is most encouraging. He may recall that when this matter was last raised, the question was one of shortage of staff at DVLC, which I am pleased to know has been met by the increased improved machinery. But is the Minister satisfied that, in addition to having the machinery for keeping the records, there is speedy transmission of those records to those who have to enforce the provisions?

Viscount Davidson

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Underhill. Three local offices have been selected for trial in the use of terminals linked to the central records at DVLC. It is expected that the terminals will greatly speed up the processing of enforcement cases as well as providing an instant response to inquiries. If successful the installation of terminals will be extended to the total local office network.

Earl Grey

My Lords, is the Minister aware that if a car is on the road without a vehicle licence so far as insurance companies are concerned the car is not insured under insurance claims?

Viscount Davidson

No, my Lords, I do not think that is the case. If a car is found to be without a valid excise licence and is uninsured, then the matter is reported by the police.

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