I have no problems with the Victims Surcharge, the victims of crime should recieve some kind of compensation from the offender, but who the heck is the ‘victim’ if you get a parking ticket?
It looks like the government has just found another way to extract money from the UK’s already hardpressed drivers and riders! What else is new?
Currently the ‘Victims’ Surcharge’ is only handed out with more serious fines from the courts, but it will be added to fixed penalty tickets for offences such as speeding and other parking misdemeanours, according to a Parliamentary answer.
Ministers said that they plan to extend the victim surcharge to fixed-penalty notices and ‘road traffic offences’, an idea first considered by Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary in April last year. This would mean the minimum £60 fine for speeding would rise to £75.
Other offences where motorists might be liable to pay the surcharge include having dirty windows or a tyre with insufficient tread.
In the Parliamentary reply, Claire Ward, the Justice Minister, said: “It is Government policy that, where possible, offenders should contribute to victims’ services as part of their reparation.
“Provisions were therefore included in the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 providing for a surcharge to be payable on criminal convictions, penalty notices for disorder and on fixed penalty notices for road traffic offences where the offences are persistent and serious.
“The victim surcharge has been applied initially only to fines imposed in magistrates and Crown courts at a rate of £15. We intend to add the surcharge to other disposals as soon as it becomes feasible.
“Proceeds raised from the surcharge provide a ring-fenced source of funding for a wide variety of organisations providing non-financial support to victims and witnesses of crime.”
Matthew Elliott, of the Tax Payers’ Alliance, told The Daily Mail that the surcharge was “clearly another stealth tax designed to plug Britain’s huge debt.”
“If the Treasury wants to raise money from the courts, it should be more honest and call this surcharge a ‘justice tax’,” he said.
“By calling it a ‘victims’ surcharge’ and applying it to minor motoring offences and parking tickets where there are clearly no victims, the Government is making a mockery of the tax system.”
The Victim’s Surcharge was introduced in April 2007 and latest figures show that between April 2008 and January 2009 it raised more than £6.6million.
But that figure would be pale in comparison if it were extended to fines handed out away from the courts.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “The MoJ spends over £360million a year supporting and compensating victims. It is right that offenders should contribute towards these services.”