Menston and Burley MP calls on courts services to improve collection of fines (From Wharfedale Observer)
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Menston and Burley MP calls on courts services to improve collection of fines
7:00am Wednesday 28th May 2014 in Local news
A Wharfedale MP has hit out at the uncollected millions of pounds in victim surcharge fines handed out by courts.
More than £14 million is outstanding in uncollected victim surcharge fines, and the Government is set to spend more money trying to claw back the tax, Shipley constituency MP Philip Davies has revealed.
Mr Davies says 55 per cent of the total £25.67 million charges handed out to criminals in just 12 months is uncollected.
He said: “People will be astonished by this eye-watering amount of money that is owed. People are sticking two fingers up at the courts.”
Between October 2012 and September last year on average £2 million in fines were imposed each month.
But the Government admitted it has no record of how many times the surcharge has been handed out during sentencing of crimes where there was no victim. Now it plans to bring in an outside agency for collection.
Since 2007, a £15 surcharge has been added to the fines of all people convicted of a crime, to raise money for support services for crime victims. In 2012 it was extended to make the levy range up to £120.
Justice Minister, Shailesh Vara, said HM Courts and Tribunal Service takes the issue of enforcement seriously and is clamping down on defaulters.
He said: “HMCTS actively pursues all outstanding impositions until certain they cannot be collected. HMCTS are actively seeking an external provider for the future delivery of compliance and enforcement services. This will bring the necessary investment and innovation to significantly improve the collection of criminal financial penalties and reduce the cost of the service to the taxpayer.”