§ Mr. Michael
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he made of the effect of raising the upper disposable weekly income limit used in the unit fine system from the £25 employed in the four pilot schemes to the £100 used in the scheme brought into effect by the Criminal Justice Act 1991.
§ Mr. Jack
Within the maximum fine levels then permitted by law, the upper unit values in the four pilot unit fines schemes were determined individually by the courts involved. When Parliament was invited to approve increases in the maximum levels of fines that might be imposed by a magistrates court, at the same time as it was asked to approve a statutory unit fine scheme, it was understood that the effects would be likely to include an increase in the amounts of fines imposed on offenders with comparatively high incomes and a decrease in the amounts imposed on the less well off and that courts would be likely, in the case of the more serious offences with which they had to deal, to use their maximum sentencing powers.