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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-19571: Liam Kerr (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 24 October 2018

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-17371 by Humza Yousaf on 17 July 2018, by what date the Victim Surcharge Fund will become operational, and for what reason there has been a reported delay in announcing this.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 7 November 2018

In order to ensure effective operation of the victim surcharge in Scotland, an Order under section 104 of the Scotland Act 1998 (‘the 1998 Act’), is required to amend section 24 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 (‘the 1991 Act’), which is reserved.

Section 24 gives the Secretary of State the power to introduce a process, via subordinate legislation, whereby courts can apply for a deduction from an offender’s benefits to pay for a fine or compensation order. This currently applies to the victim surcharge in England and Wales but does not extend to the new victim surcharge in Scotland.

We are therefore seeking an Order under section 104 of the 1998 Act, to amend section 24 of the 1991 Act, to facilitate recovery of the surcharge via deduction from benefits and bringing Scotland into line with powers that already exist in England & Wales.

The UK Government have agreed in principle to this Order and have estimated that, once all the necessary steps are completed, it will come into force in summer 2019, subject to UK Parliamentary timescales. The Victim Surcharge (Scotland) Regulations, which will implement the surcharge, will be laid before the Scottish Parliament, as soon as practicable after the section 104 Order comes into force.