House of Commons - Explanatory Note
Vehicles (Crime) Bill - continued          House of Commons

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Part II: Number Plates

66.     The British Number Plate Association has estimated the following costs for the regulation of number plate suppliers:

First Year Cost

Registration                         £1.35 million

Record Systems                    £2.7 million

Administration                    £1.87 million

Total                               £5.92 million

Continuing Annual Cost

Record systems                    £1.4 million

Administration                     £1.87 million

Total                                 £3.27 million

67.     These costs would be distributed among some 27,000 businesses and assume a registration fee of £50. The average cost per business is £219 (set up cost) and £121 (ongoing annual cost). The figures for administration include labour costs based on the average wage in the industry; administration costs would be lower for smaller businesses because they would sell and record fewer plates.

68.     The Secretary of State is responsible for registering number plate suppliers. Initial set-up costs have not been quantified but are not expected to be substantial. Insurance companies would benefit through the reduction of vehicle crime. It is estimated that the annual saving might total up to £112 million per annum in terms of vehicle value.

Part III: Vehicle Identity Checks, Information Requirements and Miscellaneous

Vehicle Identity Checks

69.     The total cost of this measure would be around £7 million to £14 million annually. These figures assume that all written off vehicles in salvage categories C and D (the most likely to be used for "ringing" crime) are repaired and returned to road use.

70.     The Vehicle Inspectorate of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions would incur an estimated £610k in set up costs. The Inspectorate would need to recruit additional staff, at an annual cost of up to £5.7 million, if written off vehicles in salvage categories C and D were subject to compulsory identity checks on presentation for registration and/or re-licensing. These figures assume that each inspection will:

  • take 12-18 minutes to complete; and

  • require about 6 minutes of administration time for fee receipt and data entry.

71.     It is estimated that all these costs will be recovered through the inspection fee of £20-£25 per vehicle. This would be borne by the vehicle presenter who would also incur indirect costs, probably of the same order, of overheads involved in arranging for vehicles to be inspected.

72.     Savings would greatly exceed costs. The police estimate that criminals currently disguise the identity of up to 10% of stolen vehicles. This works out at some 40,0000 vehicles annually with a market value of around £140 million.

Information Requirements

73.     The costs to the insurance industry as a result of this clause will be minimal, as the industry is already developing this database. There will be costs to the Lord Chancellor's Department and Crown Prosecution Service as a result of additional prosecutions. This provision will not be brought into force until the money to cover these costs has been made available.


74.     The likely cost of implementing the application of receipts from magistrates' courts measure, which would enable the Lord Chancellor's Department to recirculate monies received from magistrates' courts, is minimal.

75.     The annual cost (including legal aid cost) to the Lord Chancellor's Department of extending the time limit for bringing criminal proceedings for the unauthorised taking of a vehicle is reckoned to be £697,958. The estimated annual cost of the proposal to the Crown Prosecution Service is £209,000.


76.     With the exception of the following proposal, the measures in the Bill will have no significant staffing implications:

  • Part III, Vehicle Identity Checks. There will be an additional staffing cost of £5.7 million to administer this Part of the Bill.


77.     Regulatory Impact Assessments have been prepared for Regulation of the Motor Salvage Industry, Regulating the Supply of Number Plates and Vehicle Identity Checks. These have been cleared by the Regulatory Impact Unit (RIU) and are available in full on the Home Office website (www. The main points are brought out in these Explanatory Notes, particularly in the two preceding sections.


78.     The substantive provisions in this Act will come into effect when it is decided appropriate by the Secretary of State who will issue a commencement order. Different dates might be considered appropriate for different parts of the Act or for different geographical areas.


79.     Parts I, II, and clauses 34 to 37 inclusive extend to England and Wales only. Clauses 31 to 33 inclusive extend to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland


80.     Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires the Minister in charge of a Bill in either House of Parliament to make a statement, before second reading, about the compatibility of the provisions of the Bill with the Convention rights (as defined by section 1 of that Act). The Secretary of State for the Home Department has made the following statement:

In my view the provisions of the Vehicles (Crime) Bill are compatible with the Convention rights.

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Prepared: 7 December 2000