In 2012 the Government announced plans for an increase in fixed penalty speeding fines, and other motoring fines, which, will increase from £60 to £80 or £100. The purpose of this new “stealth tax” is apparently to fund a gap in funds available for the victims of crime. It seems that proper criminals i.e. those who commit real crimes, will also be expected to pay; though how a criminal “doing time” is going to pay the money demanded remains unclear. What is clear is that, once again, the ordinary motorist is being called on to pick up the tab!
Those motorists who have the temerity to challenge what the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) say, and face their accusers in court, could face a surcharge of up to £120! At present the so-called Victim Surcharge is levied at £15 but, it seems clear, that it will soon rise if the Government has it’s way. Once again a financial obstacle is to be placed in the path of those motorists who wish to challenge what the authorities say. I have lost count of the number of times I have been ‘phoned by motorists who have gone to court, not represented by a lawyer, and lost only to be told that not only will they have to pay a speeding fine and CPS costs but also the Victim Surcharge. Low though it might be they resent having to pay a £15 victim surcharge for what they perceive to be a victimless crime!
I’m not the only one who is staggered by the cynicism of the Governments move. The AA has pointedly stated that the concept “..that motorists are being used to raise money to pay the victims of crime is something we have opposed in the past and will continue to do so.” The RAC accepts that speeding motorists are breaking the law “…but their punishment should fit the crime, not turn in to a tax paid only by this group of offenders simply because it is easy to collect.” Doesn’t the comment of the RAC put the whole thing in perspective! The point is that if you are a law abiding citizen who has the misfortune to be prosecuted for speeding then, as far as the authorities are concerned, you’re an easy target. They know that in the majority of cases people simply don’t want all the trouble of going to court and fighting the allegation. Now, to make the prospect even less appealing, you will be landed with an extra charge which may jump from £15 to £120 – and you thought that inflation was dead!
If, like me, you think the whole thing is outrageous then why not put pen to paper and write to your MP. It’s the only thing which may make our political masters change their minds!