Government compensation cuts reconsidered

Matt Chappell is involved in criminal injury compensation research and writes for Pannone Law.

In what must be a great relief for victims of criminal injury, the government has withdrawn its plans to reduce the levels of available compensation as an increasing number of MPs appeared to disagree with the decision. Proposals had been made by the Ministry of Justice to reduce or even remove payments to those suffering ‘less serious’ injuries at the hands of criminals.

Unsurprisingly the proposed move was part of a cost-cutting exercise that was estimated to reduce the annual £449m bill by a sum of £50m. But can a price be put on the plight of innocent victims of crime, and how do you compassionately gauge who is worthy of compensation? With the government’s focus resting increasingly on cost-cutting, the situation poses the question – is there nowhere safe from financial scrutiny?

Comments have been made about the apparent heartlessness of the government decision, as Rob Flello (Shadow Justice Minister) stated:

“Even contemplating these cuts that would have affected innocent victims of crime shows this Tory-led government is out of touch.”

The twin goals of providingthe best possible support for victims of crime and restructuring the criminal injuries compensation scheme represent conflicting aims in an area that a majority of the populace would consider an essential social benefit.

This highlights the growing attitude that, in terms of budget cuts, problems that are seen as less significant are prime candidates for reassessment in the country’s struggle to regain financial stability. This highlights a move away from a ‘support for all’ culture and the gradual leaning towards a ‘if it’s bad enough or high profile enough – then you may receive support’ culture. Junior Justice Minister, Helen Grant, responded to criticism by stating: “We concluded that the scheme needed to focus resources on the victims who are most seriously affected by injuries that they suffer as a result of deliberate violent crime committed in England, Wales and Scotland.”

Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins, spoke out against the proposed cuts:

“No-one asks to be a victim of crime. Reducing, or removing altogether, the amount of compensation available to those people will send a clear message that the state does not view their injuries as serious or important… To withdraw compensation from these innocent victims of crime goes against the very purpose of criminal injuries compensation and ignores the view held by successive governments for decades that victims of violent crime deserve more than just words.”

What remains to be seen is whether the proposed changes are being reconsidered with a view to implementing a more agreeable solution – or whether a close eye should be paid to a ‘rebranding’ of policy that marks the move towards less compassionate stringency in lieu of more effective budget cuts.

 

8 Responses to “Government compensation cuts reconsidered”

  1. LB

    Raise the same about victims of NHS killings or errors, and them trying to get compensation and you will no doubt complain that the money they receive is depriving the NHS of money to treat people.

  2. Selohesra

    The only answer is to plant a few more of the magic money trees that Gordon discovered – may take a few years to bear fruit but once they do all our troubles will be over

  3. treborc1

    Poor thing it must be boring to see the Tories mess up so badly

  4. treborc1

    It does because the NHS does not use use insurance for mistakes it pay out it’s self.

  5. Selohesra

    Actually I dont like to see Tories mess up nor Labour mess up when they had their chance – its bad for the country which in turn is bad for me. I actually havent voted for them for for many years – preferring to support UKIP. Perhaps if they get a leader like Thatcher again I would be persuaded to return though

  6. Newsbot9

    You mean that thing called a sovereign currency?

    The thing you’re burning, shortly to be followed by the poor? Yes, you keep pretending once you’ve killed off the British Poor that you won’t have any more issues.

  7. Newsbot9

    You seem to have redefined the word “bad”, since you support a few wealthy businessmen, not this country.

  8. Newsbot9

    Ah yes, it’s so evil that the NHS exists, why, it’s not like more people would die of not being able to afford treatment than…oh wait, it IS like that!

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