Motorists proud to be from Great Britain are said to be unhappy with the new ‘UK’ sticker design, because now when driving abroad anyone from Great Britain will need to display a ‘UK’ sticker unless the vehicle number plate already features these initials underneath the Union Flag.
The UK Government has decided to change these rules once again, so as from September, the letters ‘UK’ must be shown on any British motor vehicle being driven abroad.
‘GB’ stickers have been in use for over well over 100 years, but this new change comes after ministers unveiled a new design without the EU stars and opted for ‘UK’ instead, a move that is meant to be more inclusive of Northern Ireland, plus it also shows a sign of solidarity in the face of post-Brexit trade tensions.
The AA, part of the motor trade industry, is now left with stocks of around 50,000 ‘GB’ stickers which are now completely worthless.
AA president Edmund King told The Telegraph newspaper, “From a heritage point of view, we have lots of classic cars, such as Jaguars, Spitfires, and so on, that have metal GB signs on the rear of the car. Now I do not propose that they take them off but what they will now have to do is have a tacky plastic UK sticker alongside it. So, from a historic perspective, we have lost the tax disk on the windscreen, and we are now losing another element of British motoring, the famed GB sticker.”
He added, “What can you do with a used GB sticker? Maybe Wetherspoons can use them as beer mats, or we can sell them to anyone with the initials, maybe Gordon Brown or Gareth Bale, but that’s a very niche market”.
Motor trade number plate suppliers are also outraged that their stocks of ‘GB’ number plates are now useless, and new ‘UK’ replacements could take up to six months to arrive.
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Conservative MP, Ian Liddell-Grainger, described the new design as a “slap in the face” for people who are proud to be British, he also said “I can’t see the point. It seems to me to be a complete waste of money when we do not need to be wasting money”.
Drivers will now need to either order new number plates or ‘UK’ stickers for when driving abroad, it will be a legal requirement to display the sticker on your vehicle as well as private or motor trade insurance in place to avoid facing fines.
More detailed information about these new rules is not yet available to the public, but a recent letter from the UK Government to the United Nations said, “The United Kingdom is changing the distinguishing sign that it had previously selected for display in international traffic on vehicles registered in the United Kingdom, from ‘GB’ to ‘UK’.
This change will take effect on 28 September 2021.