MOT breakdown knocks car tax project off course

A parliamentary committee says the government’s electronic car tax scheme is behind schedule.

A parliamentary committee says the government’s electronic car tax scheme is behind schedule.

The House of Commons Transport Committee's annual report into the work of the Department for Transport (DfT) said the department's electronic car tax scheme was facing “significant delays”.

The committee blamed the delays on the the MOT computerisation project, which went live this March, several years behind the original schedule, and broke down last month.

The DfT said 200,000 drivers had used the online scheme to tax vehicles in 2005, and that the system was due to be extended to include older vehicles this year. But the committee said the DfT had told it that the MOT project had been delayed “for further stringent testing”, and there was still concern over elements of its performance.

Last month garages could not fully use the system for the best part of a week, and had to issue paper certificates to car owners. The DfT said the problems had had a knock-on effect on the online tax system.

While welcoming the DfT’s drive towards electronic processing, the committee criticised progress. It said, “Government's overall success in managing computerisation projects is notorious: frequently promise is oversold, delivery proves disappointing, and schedules for completion are often not worth the paper they are written on.”

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