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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 March 2007, 16:20 GMT
'Victim surcharge' on court fines
Old Bailey statue
The levy will not apply to fixed penalty notices
All fines for criminal offences will carry an additional "victims surcharge" of 15, the Home Office has announced.

The levy will be added on top of every fine handed out in court for a criminal offence from 1 April.

It will be paid into a fund aimed at helping improve services for victims of crime, and will be fixed at a flat rate regardless of the size of the fine.

However, they will not apply to fixed penalty notices after earlier plans provoked an outcry from motorists.

'Punished financially'

The measure was introduced as part of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004.

The Home Office says it is part of a series of moves by Home Secretary John Reid to "rebalance" the criminal justice system in favour of victims.

Paul Fawcett from the charity Victim Support said he had mixed feelings about the levy.

"On one hand, if you're going to have a system in place where criminals are punished financially, it makes sense that this goes to victims of crime," he said.

"But on the other, the government should be able to find the funds for victims come what may."

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