The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme currently supports over 30,000 injured victims each year with relatively small payments which help to make up for lost pay whilst victims of crime are unable to work due to their injuries.
The Government’s proposed cuts would mean that compensation would not be available to victims who sustain injuries such as facial disfigurement, permanent speech impediment or multiple fractured ribs. The victims of dog attacks would no longer receive any compensation, no matter how serious their injuries.
Even those most seriously injured would have their payments slashed, as compensation for loss of earnings will be limited to the rate of Statutory Sick Pay – just £85 a week. And any victim who has had a period out of work in the previous 3 years (around a third of the UK workforce) will not receive any compensation for loss of earnings.
These same cuts and conditions will apply to the dependants of murder victims, drastically reducing their compensation and financial security following the death of a loved one.
After the debate and vote in the House of Commons, Mr Gwynne said:
“The Government have sought to make these huge cuts to compensation for 90% of injured victims of crime by the back door, with no discussion by the full House of Commons. Labour MPs called this debate as a final opportunity for MPs to demonstrate to Government Ministers the fundamental flaws in their program of cuts to Criminal Injuries Compensation.
“It was also a chance for MPs to stand up for the victims of crime and demonstrate to the Government that there must be a better way to make cuts than to 90% of seriously injured victims of violent crime and to the dependants of murder victims – who have no other means of redress.”
“I promise that I will continue to put the interests of victims first, but I am deeply disappointed that Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs chose to ignore the plight facing so many seriously injured victims of crime, and failed to vote against these cruel and unnecessary cuts.”
The shopworkers’ union Usdaw have been campaigning against the cuts in compensation on behalf of many of their members who fall victim to violent robberies.
Usdaw General Secretary John Hannett welcomed Andrew Gwynne MP’s support:
“Thousands of shopworkers and other innocent victims of violent criminals desperately need the relatively small amounts that the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme provides. Most who suffer serious injuries need to take considerable time off work to recover.
“We believe that seriously injured victims of violent crime have suffered enough and should not have to face possible deprivation and debt as well. The Government seem to want victims of crime to suffer financially as well as physically.
“Usdaw are very grateful for the support of Andrew Gwynne MP. We will continue to do all we can together to prevent these abhorrent cuts from being passed.”