The purpose of the clause, which I shall introduce briefly, is to improve the vehicle relicensing service for disabled motorists and the keepers of vehicles used by disabled persons. Disabled people in receipt of certain qualifying benefits may be entitled to an exemption from vehicle excise duty. Proof of their disability allowance is in the form of a certificate issued by the Department for Work and Pensions or the Ministry of Defence, as appropriate, which must be produced when relicensing—that is, obtaining a nil licence—at the Post Office or DVLA regional office.
The provisions in the clause are a prerequisite to obviating the need for a certificate to be produced when relicensing. They are part of Government proposals on e-licensing, in which the intention is to establish by 2005 the opportunity for all motorists to relicense by internet or telephone.
I believe that all members of the Committee will welcome the measure. Generally, it is an important step forward for e-business, but it will be particularly welcome to those living with disabilities. They have quite enough burdens to bear already, without having to engage in existing relicensing procedures. The more that we can do to relieve them of those burdens, the better.
Has the Financial Secretary given thought to precisely what the qualification will be for a disabled person? He mentioned provision through Government Departments. However, an increasing number of individuals are able to get disabled licences for their vehicles through their local authorities. Is it envisaged that the qualification will be such that a large group of disabled people will qualify under the provision, or do the Government feel that it should be a fairly small and tight group based on central, rather than local, Government provisions?