Labour wants wealthy drink-drivers to be hit with higher fines

Ant McPartlin was fined �86,000 and banned from driving for 20 months.
Ant McPartlin was fined �86,000 and banned from driving for 20 months.

Scottish Labour wants the Scottish Government to bring in tougher fines for drink driving, complaining that celebrity Ant McPartlin - fined £86,000 - would have paid just £5,000 in Scotland.

The Party argues courts should be able to impose stiffer penalties on higher earners, arguing that for someone like McPartlin, who had earned £136,000 a week, a £5,000 penalty would not be significant.

Besides his fine the star, who admitted driving while more than twice the legal limit, was also banned from driving for 20 months.

The maximum penalties set for drink-driving are set by the UK Government, but Holyrood ministers have the power to alter the standard scale.

Labour MSP Daniel Johnston said: “The stark reality is that for a case like TV presenter Ant McPartlin’s, Scottish courts would only have been able to hand down a fine worth just six per cent of his eventual fine.

“While a fine of £5,000 would in most cases be an appropriate maximum, for those on higher incomes this may not act as any kind of deterrent.

“It therefore seems appropriate to review and adjust the standard scale of fines to fix this anomaly as part of a renewed effort to end drink-driving for good”.

The Scottish Government says the action it took in 2014 to lower the drink-drive limit means it is now lower here than down south, and that there’s currently no evidence to show the standard scale of fines needs to be revised.