HC Deb 06 July 1979 vol 969 cc749-50W
Miss Richardson

asked the Minister of Transport what percentage of cases of driving without a valid vehicle excise licence do not result in prosecution; what is his estimate of the loss of revenue that results from excise licence evasion; and if he will issue a circular to chief constables advising a stricter policy with regard to prosecutions of such evasions.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

Out of 724,000 cases reported in 1978 86,000—12 per cent.—were prosecuted, 57,000—8 per cent.—were dealt with by mitigated penalties, and 140,000—19 per cent.—resulted in full payment of back duty without enforcement action. The remaining 441,000—61 per cent.—cases were not pursued to prosecution. A survey of evasion in 1977–78 concluded that some £70 million to £90 million was being lost. The level of evasion and my Department's enforcement policy are matters which will be fully considered in our current review of VED. The police resources which can be devoted to the enforcement of any particular aspect of the law is a matter for the individual chief officer concerned.