Women Offenders

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:48 pm on 13th April 2005.

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Photo of Stewart Stevenson Stewart Stevenson Scottish National Party 2:48 pm, 13th April 2005

The convener of the Justice 1 Committee is entirely correct on that matter. On the other hand, we have a criminal justice system that criminalises someone for not paying for a TV licence, although that is only like not paying council tax, the bill for having papers delivered to their home or a phone bill. The licence fee is a fee for the provision of a service, yet, uniquely, it is a criminal offence not to have a television licence, whereas non-payment for other services is a civil offence with civil remedies for the recovery of money. I make the constructive suggestion that the Executive might talk to colleagues at Westminster about whether, in the modern world, it is appropriate that non-payment of that specific fee, for which payment has to come out of the household budget, should, uniquely, remain a criminal offence.