Personal number plates

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Sir,

I shall be grateful if you will allow me to reply, through the columns of Motor Sport, to the comments made in the letter of James Humphery and A. O’Sullivan which was published in the March issue.

Whilst I respect their opinions, I felt the they over generalised the matter and that their argument for abolishing number transfers lacked perspective and reasonableness. They al. appeared to be more emotive in their criticism than they gave the subject matter credit for.

Firstly, owning a cherished (deliberate choice of word) number is not necessarily an expensive or egocentric “folly”. In my case, and doubtless thousands of others, the number I own originated with one of my first cars and, for personal and sentimental reasons only, I have transferred it to every car I have owned since. The number has no significance to my name or initials.

They are people who have acquired very expensive numbers for egocentric reasons. However, they have a right to spend their hard earned and taxed income as they please without incurring prejudiced criticism for doing so.

Secondly, are we really expected to believe that the level of number transfers is at all material in the overall context of Swansea? Are we to imagine that the transfers will contribute in any significance to the administrative breakdown suggested, or, if banned, will be the “miracle cure” and prevent it? Come-off it!

“Thirdly, I would like to put the record straight about increased costs. No reasonable person minds paying the costs incurred in transferring their number, but bearing in mind that the cost is approximately £12-£15 the £50 fee is ridiculous, socially unjust, and makes a mockery of the Government’s own prices policy.

However, the £50 fee’s real significance is that the ownership of cherished numbers will become exclusive to those that can afford it. This will inevitably reduce their significance to motoring history and effectively present their retention in the wrong light to that of the “rich man’s folly”, or the “unacceptable face of capitalism”.

This will be wrong in principle and in reason, because the debasement will have been enforced by legislation. It may well lead to the total banishment of the right to transfer numbers, as the unions involved will have a ready-made excuse for withdrawing their labour in this respect.

J. Humphrey and A. O’Sullivan are obviously motoring enthusiasts (they would not be readers of this publication otherwise), yet they chose to ignore the fact that owning a personal number is just another aspect of being a motoring enthusiast. They also completely neglect the historical significance of these numbers. Perhaps they should read the Veteran, Edwardian and Vintage section of Motor Sport, then they would realise that there is more than totally unnecessary expense and egocentricity involved.

Finally, I am a member of the Registration Numbers Club, which was formed “to ensure the continuation of the retention of numbers as carried out since December 1903”. Membership is free and anyone interested in becoming a member (Whether or not a personal number is owned) should write to the club’s address:

81, Station Parade, Harrogate,

North Yorkshire, HO, 1ST.

I also suggest that readers who support the retention of numbers, and the right to transfer them on a reasonable basis, should write to their M.P.s. Motorists cannot afford to lose part of their history, or to have yet another unreasonable restriction enforced upon them. Action to preserve these numbers is required now, before it is too late.

Harewood, Leeds. BARRIE C. DAVIES

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