£1.6m raised from speeding drivers - but it won't be spent on making our roads safer

Calls for money raised through speeding tickets to be spent on funding road safety schemes in the West Midlands have been rejected. West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Simon Foster had asked the Department for Transport (DfT) to allow the annual income of more than £1.6 million to be given back to the region rather than going into a general pot at the Treasury.

Following a four-week consultation carried out by Mr Foster, 93 per cent of more than 1,300 respondents agreed cash raised from fines dished out to motorists here should remain in the West Midlands. But in a letter to the PCC, the Road Safety Division at the Department said putting fines in a 'Consolidated Fund' rather than ring-fencing it to regions would avoid 'creating incentives' for generating money.

It added motorists benefited from the cash raised by speeding tickets in other ways. An average of 16,654 fixed penalty tickets are processed by the West Midlands Police ticketing office per year, generating £1,654,000 in annual income for HM Treasury.

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Mr Foster said: "I am deeply disappointed with the response from the Department for Transport. It appears to show a real lack of urgency on the part of a government, that is not prepared to grip the need to prioritise road safety.

"As Police and Crime Commissioner and, as chair of the West Midlands Road Safety Strategic Group, reducing the number of people tragically and avoidably killed and seriously injured on our roads will always be of paramount importance.

"That is because the consequences of road traffic collisions are catastrophic and devastating. The consultation I launched last year gave a clear endorsement for my view, that money raised by fixed penalty fines in the West Midlands, should be retained here and invested in making our roads safer."

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He added: "The Government’s stance is not cost neutral to the police or to the local authorities who own the cameras, which enable excessive speed activations and the tickets to be generated.

"The money generated through the enforcement of unlawful speeding on West Midlands roads, should be spent in our region, on roads policing and local authority road safety activities. It should be used to fund further enforcement and improve safety on the road network for all road users."

The letter from the DfT said: "The Government considers having fines and penalty receipts such as speeding fines being paid into the Consolidated Fund to be preferable to ring-fencing or hypothecating funds for specific spending. This avoids creating incentives to collect fines and penalty receipts for the sake of generating revenues, rather than for the purpose of enforcement and road safety.

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"Most central Government funding for local government is not ring-fenced. This is so that local authorities can make the best decisions relating to local priorities.

"Money from the Consolidated Fund supports general expenditure on public services, and that would include services that motorists will benefit from, such as healthcare, policing, local government grants and transport."

It added £915 million annual capital funding was allocated for highways maintenance across England outside of London between 2022/23 - 2024/25. In the 2023 Budget, the Chancellor announced an extra £200 million for local highways maintenance for the 2023/24 financial year.

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