‘40% of motorcycles untaxed’

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DVLA will be a laughing stock if it doesn’t clamp down hard on motorcycle tax evaders, MPs have said.

The Commons Public Accounts Committee said 38% of motorcycles were untaxed, up from 30% the previous year, and urged Government to take tougher measures to catch offenders.

Committee chairman Edward Leigh MP said: "Motorcyclists are particularly liable to evade road tax. Nearly 40% of motorcycles are now unlicensed."

The committee called for tougher action including impounding bikes and giving riders penalty points.

A committee report said electonic tags in number plates should be considered.

The recommendations came during a DVLA feasibility study into fitting all motorcycles with the tags, which can transmit data to police to assist in catching road tax evaders.

The committee also called for more road checks by police and checks on bikes ridden off-road.

Leigh said: "Motorists and motorcyclists who refuse to pay road tax are stealing from law-abiding taxpayers and unlicensed cars are often associated with other forms of crime. And yet the Department for Transport and the DVLA are losing ground in their fight against VED evasion. The evasion rate among road users in general jumped to 5% in 2006-07, from 3.6% in 2005-06."

He added: "If the DVLA's motorcycle enforcement regime is not to be a complete laughing stock, then the Agency and the Department must make the most of new powers to enforce VED off public roads - and strongly consider more severe measures such as impounding unlicensed motorcycles.  Large parts of the biking community are cocking a snook at the law."

Ludlow Conservative MP Philip Dunne said: "We have a particular challenge on some of the east-west main roads in Shropshire where I have seen for myself the volume of motorcylists breaking the speed limit, many of whom are liable to evade road tax."

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Steve Farrell

By Steve Farrell