British officials are making plans to impose a tax on speeding and parking citations this year in an effort to raise money to cover a growing budget deficit. Secretary of State for Justice Claire Ward announced the plan in a written answer to a question posed by Member of Parliament Greg Knight. The new revenue would be labeled as a “victims’ surcharge.”
“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 offenses where the offenses are persistent and serious,” Ward said. “We intend to add the surcharge to other disposals as soon as it becomes feasible to do so.”
The tax, which currently stands at £15 (US $24), would be imposed on all forms of speeding and parking tickets. Given that there were 1,462,235 speed camera citations issued in 2007, the plan would generate an extra £21,933,525 (US $35,020,571) from the increase in the cost of a ticket from £60 (US $96) to £75 ($120). Expanding the fee to cover parking tickets and other non-moving violations would more than double that figure.
The victims’ surcharge was first created in April 2007 as a means of forcing violent criminals to compensate their victims. The fee would now be imposed on motorists whose technical violations — overstaying at a parking meter, forgetting to wear a seatbelt or driving a few MPH over the limit — have no victims.
The UK move follows a global trend. Last week, Georgia became the latest US state to turn toward speeding ticket surcharges as a means of balancing the budget. Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Texas have similar programs.