In 2007, as part of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 the Government announced that all fines for criminal offences would thereafter carry an additional "victims surcharge" of £15. The levy was to be added to every fine handed out in court for a criminal offence from 1 April that year.
The surcharge is paid into a fund aimed at helping improve services for victims of crime, and is fixed at a flat rate regardless of the size of the fine.
However, at that stage it was decided they were not to apply to fixed penalty notices for driving offences after earlier plans provoked an outcry from motorists.
That may well now change following the release by the Justice Minister of a proposal to fine motorists £100 for a range of common road traffic offences, representing an increase of over 60% on the current level of £60. The current system permits a collection of the charge only if someone is fined in Court and so does not apply to fixed penalties. The proposal is seen as a way round that, and could raise significant sums of money. It is likely to apply to drivers caught speeding, not wearing a seatbelt and using a telephone.
Those sent to prison may well face a surcharge of £120, and some road traffic convictions lead to prison sentences. The increase is set to raise £50 million a year.
The extra money that is generated from the increase of motoring fines will go towards road safety schemes and it will fill a funding gap of £50 million for Victims of Crime with £20 from the fine being put into the fund.