In June of this year businessman Anders Wiklöf received a fine of £104,000 for speeding.
Why did he receive such a high penalty?
In Finland, like taxation, financial penalties are progressive for some offences.
Based on the offender’s daily income, in this case Mr. Wiklöf runs a $350 million company, the government fines you at half your day rate.
The number of days depends on the severity of the offence.
As he had previous convictions for speeding, he was fined half his disposable income for 14 days.
He was going 51 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone.
The response he gave to the media was very graceful:
“I have heard the government wants to save €1.5bn on healthcare in Finland, so I hope that my money can fill a gap there.”
It begs the question why aren’t fines a percentage of income rather than a fixed rate?
Rich and poor alike would be penalised fairly and occasionally the exchequer gets an amazing windfall opportunity.
Let’s be honest, it’s got to be easier than negotiating with Amazon’s tax lawyers or stony-faced oligarchs.
On that note, I want you to cast your mind back to winter 2020 when people couldn’t attend weddings, funerals or even hug their parents.
In this context, perennial Daily Mail clickbait and occasional singer Rita Ora decided her need for a 30thbirthday party with 30 people was more important than the fact that the UK was in lockdown.
In addition, she should have been self-isolating for 14 days after performing a gig to a Dictator.
She claimed to be terribly sorry and paid the maximum possible fine.
What was the fine? £10,000 which was double what she paid the restaurant to break the law. She is estimated to be worth $30,000,000.
The current penalty system can drive the average earner into eviction but can also be less than 30 minutes earnings to some.
While many were unable to attend loved ones funerals Georgia Truffolo attended a dog’s birthday party knowing the fine was of little consequence.
How is this fair?
To conclude, my response is to Finnish us all. Let everyone pay a fair percentage of what they earn if they’ve committed an offence. That way we are all equal under the law.