The government has been accused of ‘milking the motorist’ after it materialised last month that speed cameras are bagging £10,000 for the Treasury every HOUR.
Home Office figures show the number of fixed penalty notices handed out for speeding has increased by 100 per cent in ten years and the vast majority were given to drivers caught by speed cameras, of which there are now around 6,000.
The total cash raised by fining speeding motorists was almost £88million in 2007 – compared to only £28.5million in 1997. As well as presiding over a huge increase in the number of tickets, the current Government has also raised fines from £40 to £60. The total amount raised under Labour is a staggering £840million.
Tory police spokesman David Ruffley, who compiled the figures, said: ‘Labour are milking the motorist, who have been treated as a cash cow for the last ten years. Motorists have been milked by a Labour government desperate to fund a decade of spend, spend, spend. No wonder cameras on our roads are so unpopular with the British motorist.’
Until April 1 2007, camera partnerships operated by police and local authorities were allowed to keep a proportion of fines to pay for more cameras. Since then, they have received a fixed amount for all aspects of road safety. All the money raised by the fines is taken by the Treasury, which enjoyed proceeds of £10,000 a day in 2007.
Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘The fact that more speeding fines are handed out every year suggests that speed cameras are more about raising revenue than reducing speeds on the roads. If any other policy had so clearly failed in its objective it would be scrapped but it seems that the authorities are too keen on the money speeding fines screw out of motorists. This is not just hugely expensive, it is dragging the reputation of the law through the dirt. Fining anyone should be about justice, not fund-raising.’
The Government insists the purpose of the cameras is to save lives, not raise money. Officials point to statistics showing that road deaths fell in 2007 to 2,943, the lowest since records began in 1926.
Some motorists fail to understand what all the commotion is about. After all, speed cameras are put into place to catch drivers travelling over what is considered by the Highways Agency to be a safe speed.
Helen Morrison, a resident from in Kingston-upon-Thames, stood up for the government: “Why do people complain that speed cameras are a money making scheme? Maybe they are, but if you’re going to drive over the limit and break the law then you should pay for it”.
Alexis from Manchester commented: “I think the statistics speak for themselves, 1745 less deaths. The cameras clearly work, so let’s have more of them. If you don’t speed then you won’t get caught. Don’t forget motorists who are caught are breaking the law so they deserve what they get’.