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But it’s for a good cause!

It would not surprise me in the least if an internal memo had been circulated around all departments of HMG reminding staff to spend at least some part of their day rummaging down the backs of sofas and armchairs and remitting all and any recovered coinage to the Treasury. I honestly think they must be getting that desperate for money.

From the UK Times (so no link):

THE home secretary wants to add a £35 surcharge to fixed penalty notices, such as parking tickets and speeding fines, to boost the state compensation fund for victims of crime, leaked cabinet papers reveal.

The controversial move, approved by Gordon Brown, the chancellor, will be seen as another Labour stealth tax.

The “victims’ surcharge” would apply to a range of misdemeanours, including motoring offences, littering, dog fouling and graffiti as well as yobbish or drunken behaviour. The extra £35 would be added to the fixed penalty.

It won’t be ‘seen’ as another ‘stealth tax, it is another bloody stealth tax and one that will, as per usual, fall almost entirely onto the shoulders of the middle-classes, the property owning, the business-running and the law-abiding. But they are precisely the people HMG wants to target because, simply, they are the people who actually have something to take. The threat to exact the ‘surcharge’ from petty criminals is pure fantasy as such people seldom pay the fines that are already imposed on them and typically do not have the means to do so.

The promise to use this money for ‘victims of crime’ is, I’m afraid, yet another howler. Just as with the Road Fund Licence (which was introduced on the promise that the collected revenue was going to go solely to road construction and maintenance) the extra revenue will quickly get swept into the general tax take where it is urgently needed to prop up the failing public sector.

However there is something apposite about calling this a ‘victims of crime’ fund because, in a way, it is chillingly accurate. The ‘victims’ being anybody in this country with something to lose and the criminals being their own government.

5 comments to But it’s for a good cause!

  • Paul Zrimsek

    No, this will work. As the Tony Martin case shows us, criminals are really the victims of crime, and so will be eligible to receive the money raised by the “victims’ surcharge”. Then they’ll have enough to pay their fines. Brilliant!

  • Matt Eric

    “Dog fouling”?

  • Matt, “Dog fouling” means when dogs crap on the sidewalk. (Everybody admire my command of American idiom.)

    David, when I was in the Treasury we did actually discuss whether the pound coins accidentally left in the left-luggage lockers of the Public Record Office should be returned to the common money pile or kept by the PRO. I can’t remember which way the decision went, though.

  • Whatever happened to that surplus Gordon Brown and the Blairites were so proud of?

    Serious question – where did it go?

  • bear, the (one each)

    Matt, “Dog fouling” means when dogs crap on the sidewalk. (Everybody admire my command of American idiom.)

    I for one thought it had something to do involving goalies in canine football (aka soccer).