Government takes stand on illegal foreign vehicles

Foreign-registered vehicles on Britain’s roads illegally will be seized by police under plans unveiled by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the police are joining forces to identify and take action against foreign motorists who drive in the UK illegally.

Patrick McLoughlin said: “These vehicles are a danger on our roads and the Government is determined to crack down on foreign drivers who deliberately refuse to register and license their vehicles. We will use all of the information available to us to make sure we take tough action where necessary to keep our roads safe.”

Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, national lead for roads policing said:

“Regardless of their country of origin, or that of their car, it is the responsibility of every driver to ensure that they are obeying the laws that govern our roads in the UK, and that includes falling in line with the laws on taxation, registration and insurance as well as those on safe driving.

“I fully endorse the Transport Secretary’s crackdown and the new information sharing trial between the police service and HMRC, which will allow us to deal more effectively with criminality on our roads, thereby increasing our communities’ safety and security.

“Be assured, the police will act firmly but fairly to deal with any driver breaking the law.”

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Priti Patel commented: “This clear measure will make sure that our roads are safe and all drivers pay the taxes that are due. The joint force of the police, DVLA and HMRC will clamp down on those who break the law, fail to pay their taxes and put lives at risk on our roads. The trial, starting in November, will help reduce the revenue lost through drivers using our roads illegally.”

Foreign vehicles must be registered and licensed in the UK when they have been here more than six months in any twelve month period.

But it is estimated that up to 350,000 foreign registered vehicles entered the UK and overstayed the six month exemption period without registering and licensing between 2010 and 2013 – costing the taxpayer £60 million every year in lost tax revenue.

The new trial, which starts on 3 November and will run until February 2015, will see HMRC share information with six police forces on foreign vehicles that have entered the UK and that may have overstayed the permitted six months in any 12 month period.

This will transform enforcement by allowing police to seize and impounded the vehicles of those who have overstayed. The registered keeper will have to pay a £200 release fee and a £160 surety fee, plus storage fees, to get the vehicle back.

The DVLA will also issue the registered keeper with an out-of-court settlement demand for the unpaid tax which will lead to a prosecution if the keeper fails to pay up.

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