The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

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Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Fingers In The Till

There is some predictable harrumphing going on about the extension of the so-called Victim Surcharge to fixed penalties. The Mail's piece falls for the untrue assumption that the surcharge goes to help victims - it does nothing of the sort. This Parliamentary answer makes it clear that not a penny goes to victims themselves, but the money is allocated to services that would otherwise have been funded out of taxation in the usual way (including a good chunk to the CPS).

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The Victims Surcharge raised £3.8 million in 2007-08, the year of introduction, and £8 million in 2008-09.
All of the money raised from the surcharge contributed to direct non-financial support for victims and witnesses of crime. Funding was committed as follows:
£3 million/£2.6 million/£2.6 million to fund Independent Domestic Violence Adviser Services.
£3 million/£2.6 million/£2.6 million to the Crown Prosecution Service as a contribution to the cost of providing Witness Care Units under the No Witness No Justice initiative.
£5.6 million/£7 million/£6.2 million to the Victim Support National Centre to fund enhanced services to victims and witnesses under the Victim Support Plus initiative.
Additionally, £1.75 million was allocated to the Victims Fund each year, which has contributed to the funding of the organisations shown in the table below.
Money raised from the surcharge has not been used to refurbish witness waiting areas in magistrates' courts nor has it been used to pay witness expenses, and there are no present plans for it to be used in this way.
There are currently no plans to pay compensation to victims of crime from surcharge funds. The explanatory memorandum accompanying the enabling legislation for the victims surcharge makes it clear that surcharge money should be used to fund services helping victims of crime and witnesses.

It's a stealth tax, it's unfair, and it's intellectually dishonest.