One of the (many) things readers might not know about me is that I was born in Brussels. Or, as I put it to eurosceptic tories, I come from the EU and I'm here to eat your house prices.
Now, one of the interesting things about Belgium (which, for the geographically impaired, is the country in which Brussels is located) is that they don't have road tax. And, therefore, they don't have road tax discs in cars.
What they do have, however, are insurance discs. While looking much like road tax discs, insurance discs confirm that the car is insured and contain basic details of the insurance policy. As you may imagine, this makes it very easy to spot uninsured cars and also makes it easier to get another driver's insurance details in the event of an accident.
I happen to think that we would do well to emulate the Belgians in this area (if we started emulating Belgian beer manufacture then that would be an added bonus).
If it were up to me, I'd scrap road tax completely. I'd then increase insurance tax for vehicles in order to make up for the lost revenue. But some of the money from the increased insurance tax should be used to replace road tax discs with insurance tax discs.
At the moment, there is a tendency among some wealthy people not to bother with insurance. They're not likely to get caught and, if they are, then paying the fine is cheaper than buying the insurance in the first place.
The problem of uninsured drivers is a big one and one which will only get bigger. Personally, I think a scheme along the lines of the Belgian one would be a good step forwards. In fact, I'm even considering putting it forward as a motion to spring conference. Any thoughts on the idea? Please feel free to comment.