December 5, 2013 12:04 am

Autumn Statement 2013: Car tax disc heading for the scrapheap

Road Tax Rise Causes A Stir...LONDON - AUGUST 04: A 2008/ 2009 car tax disc is displayed in a car windscreen on August 4, 2008 in London, England. Some MPs believe plans for new increased car tax rates on high fuel consumption vehicles should be made bolder to ensure a more effective impact on the environment. (Photo by Cate Gillon/Getty Images)©Getty

A 2008/ 2009 car tax disc is displayed in a car windscreen on August 4, 2008 in London, England

The windscreen paper tax disc has reached the end of the road, George Osborne plans to announce on Thursday, in his Autumn Statement.

The chancellor is axing the familiar circular badge after 90 years, with the authorities instead relying on an electronic vehicle register.

Mr Osborne will say that the change will save business £7m a year in administration costs as well as reducing the hassle for motorists having to pay for the disc each year.

The British public has been driven to distraction by road charges since the 18th century, when horse-drawn carriages bore an annual tax.

The tax disc as we know it today was invented in 1921. It was a black and grey document, displayed in the windows of the Model Ts and Saxon Roadsters of the period.

By the 21st century the design was far more complex, printed on watermarked paper with star-shaped perforations, bar codes, holograms and gold foils.

Stephen Hammond, roads minister, is ending the road disc as part of an attempt to improve motor service agencies. Other initiatives have included holding driving tests in places such as colleges and supermarkets.

As well as axing the paper tax disc, the coalition will let drivers pay their vehicle excise duty by direct debit for the first time.

The Treasury said the measures would come into effect from October 2014 after appearing in next year’s finance bill. “This is a visual symbol of how we are moving government into the modern age and making dealing with government more hassle-free,” it said.

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