The big answer: fines should reflect income

Criminal fines should reflect the income of the person who has been found guilty, according to the reaction of last week's Big Question.

When asked whether the fines should be proportionate to income, 74% of the 2,299 who voted thought they should be.

James Tindle agreed such a move would be the fairest way, saying "otherwise it means that if a person is rich enough, then they can do anything they like as a puny fine is just chickenfeed to them."

Kevin Parker added: "Fines should be set as a percentage of annual income and a large part of discretion taken away from judges who have proved over and over again that they are away with fairies, fining benefits cheats pennies and ensuring the amount stolen from the taxpayers are never repaid."

Joanne Richters thought the punishment should fit the crime, saying: "If you steal, the courts should take your money off you. If you murder someone knowingly, then you should get the death sentence and so on. No one learns harder than the money from their pocket, and seeing as they are to be disciplined, then the more you earn, the more you should be forced to pay, lesson learned."

And Andrew Wakeman summed it up when he said: "What's an £80 fine to someone who earns millions while £80 fine to someone on benefits is far too much."