Victim Support

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th April 1999.

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Photo of George Howarth George Howarth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

At least a Labour Member is here to ask a question—we have lost Questions 12 and 13. As my hon. Friend will know, we are making a very substantial increase in Victim Support's annual grant. This year's grant will be £17.3 million, and, by 2001–02, it will be £19 million, an increase of 50 per cent. over last year's figure. Most of the extra money will be used to establish a new and much-needed witness support service in magistrates courts.

Photo of Paul Goggins Paul Goggins Labour, Wythenshawe and Sale East

I congratulate my hon. Friend on providing a much-needed, substantial increase in funding for Victim Support. Will he join me in congratulating the staff and the volunteers of Victim Support in Trafford and in Wythenshawe, who do so much to help my constituents? Will he ensure that as much help as possible goes to Victim Support groups in our poorest communities, which so often feel the worst impact of crime?

Photo of George Howarth George Howarth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Of course I join my hon. Friend in congratulating Victim Support groups in the Greater Manchester area, particularly those that he mentioned. He is quite right to say that the victims of crime are most often to be found in the poorest areas. It is a myth that crime strikes only in areas where people are wealthy. We make every effort to ensure that Victim Support groups in areas of great desperation and high crime are properly funded and resourced. My hon. Friend was quite right to say that it should be a priority.