HC Deb 16 April 1959 vol 603 cc1107-8
3. Mr. H. Hynd

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress is being made in connection with his review of small fines in old statutes.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department and Lord Privy Seal (Mr. R. A. Butler)

The work is going forward, but a good deal of consultation with other Government Departments, local authority associations and others will be necessary before specific proposals can be formulated.

Mr. Hynd

Having regard to the change in the value of money and the limitations imposed on magistrates by some of these ridiculously small fines, such as a maximum fine of 5s. for allowing cattle to stray on the highway, will the Home Secretary do his best to have some more up-to-date amounts settled as soon as possible?

Mr. Butler

In the pre-1914 statutes there are already 600 fines scattered through 150 statutes, and, what with our relations with local authorities and others, it would take a little time to set this right—but I do not underestimate its importance.

Mr. Ernest Davies

What is to prevent these fines being revised in Measures when they are consolidated? There is at present 'before the House the Highways Bill, in which the penalties are quite inconsistent as between one offence and another. Could not that opportunity be taken to revise the penalties?

Mr. Butler

The trouble about that is that it would be taking piecemeal action, but we will do so where we can.