§ Mr. Ray Powell
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people, in an average week, are arrested, taken into prison for non-payment of small fines or maintenance, and held until fines are paid; and if he will take steps to permit authorities to accept cheques in payment of such fines.
§ Mr. Mayhew
Information is not collected centrally on the method of securing the attendance at court of fine defaulters and maintenance defaulters, nor on the amounts of their fines and maintenance arrears which are outstanding. Information on receptions into prison department establishments in England and Wales in default of payment of a fine and for non-payment of affiliation or maintenance orders is published annually in "Prison Statistics, England and Wales", tables 7.2 and 6.2 respectively of the issue for 1980—Cmnd. 8372. The prison authorities are permitted to accept a cheque in payment of a fine, but a cheque may not be applied to secure the release of a person committed to custody in default unless the cheque is supported by a cheque card or has been cleared by the bank.