How George Osborne Destroyed A Man’s Business With This Year’s Autumn Statement

George Osborne’s mini-Budget was full of good economic news. Unless you run a novelty car tax disc holder business.

1. The humble tax disc. Annoying motorists for 93 years.

It was almost impossible to tear out the very expensive piece of paper without accidentally ripping the tax disc.

2. But after almost a century it’s going to be phased out.

Reuters Tv / Reuters

George Osborne has announced plans to replace the public declaration that road tax has been paid with a computer system. It’s going to save the government £7 million a year.

3. This is good news for most people. Apart from those in Britain’s thriving tax disc holder manufacturing industry.

Flickr / Creative Commons / vagueonthehow / Via Flickr: vagueonthehow

Every decision has unintended consequences. And Gary Holliday of Magoo Magnetic Tax Disc Holders – “the UK’s original tax disc holder design studio” – is unhappy.

He’s seen his business destroyed overnight.

4. Gary specialises in novelty tax disc holders, retailing at just £6 each.


5. He reckons we’re going to lose a British icon.

One of the visual symbols which makes us British is going to disappear should the government vote the changes through.

6. While it could become harder to spot tax evaders.

Out of around 200,000 reported cases of tax disc evasion, 160,000 were reported by the general public So who’s going to report the tax dodgers now? More cameras on the roads and more police spot checks. Where is the chancellor’s saving?

In the new year, I was going to look for larger premises and take on some staff. When you do something original, it attracts a lot of imitators and counterfeiters who really threatened my business. I was starting to win that battle in the last couple of months to find that the Chancellor wiped that out with a single announcement.

7. …and while most small companies cheered the chancellor’s tax cuts for small business, Gary has reason to be unhappy.

I’ve lost a fantastic innovative business selling novelty tax disc holders. Other companies will make employees redundant. I thought the budget was going to help me, not ruin me.

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Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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