Fines: Surcharges

Justice written question – answered on 26th July 2010.

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Photo of Greg Knight Greg Knight Chair, Procedure Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will assess the merits of reversing his Department's decision to require courts to charge a victim's surcharge for crimes in circumstances in which no victim of crime is identified; and if he will take steps to raise more revenue by seeking to collect previously uncollected fines.

Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice) (Prisons and Probation)

HM Courts Service (HMCS) takes the issue of fine enforcement very seriously and is working to ensure we clamp down on fine dodgers. Collecting outstanding debt is a continued priority nationwide.

We have no plans to curtail the current application of the surcharge, even for offences where there is not a known identified victim. This Government take all crime seriously and recognise the potential for causing harm and the undesirable impact on society. I therefore have no plans to exclude these offenders from the responsibility of contributing directly to support for victims.

However, we do not want the victim surcharge to continue to disproportionately impact motorists. Officials are exploring the means of extending the surcharge to other disposals.

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Posted on 27 Jul 2010 9:10 am (Report this annotation)

Why not collect fines via a tax code change or collection from benefits? If taken from benefits, this amount would still be classed as income so that it actually causes hardship rather than enabling a further claim for more benefits.

This way the money is collected, the offender is punished and the cost of bailiffs and other collection costs are reduced. A clear win-win situation.