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Compensation Agreements

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 28th June 2011.

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Photo of Lindsay Roy Lindsay Roy Labour, Glenrothes 2:30 pm, 28th June 2011

What the reason is for the time taken to implement agreements on the compensation of victims of terrorism overseas.

Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice) (Prisons and Probation)

We are examining this issue in tandem with the domestic criminal injuries scheme and will publish our proposals on victims in the coming weeks.

Photo of Lindsay Roy Lindsay Roy Labour, Glenrothes

I thank the Minister for his response. Has he made an assessment of how other countries, such as France and Australia, have been able to implement promptly the agreements on compensation for such victims outwith their natural boundaries?

Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice) (Prisons and Probation)

As the hon. Gentleman will know, the House decided when we passed the Crime and Security Act 2010 that it was likely that the forward-looking scheme would relate to the criminal injuries compensation scheme. We are coming forward with proposals on the criminal injuries compensation scheme and are taking these things in tandem.

Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Will the Minister give the House an assurance that any such ex gratia payments will regard Foreign Office advice as having been followed at the time of the terrorism incident?

Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice) (Prisons and Probation)

My hon. Friend is correct to say that that was a factor alluded to during the passage of the 2010 Act. For the precise details of the scheme she is talking about, which would apply retrospectively, I am afraid that she will have to wait until we come forward with our proposals in due course.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Treasury)

Can the Minister confirm that, whatever scheme he brings forward, it will operate from January 2010, as proposed by the Act that I took through the House on behalf of the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office 18 months ago?

Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice) (Prisons and Probation)

What is in the Act is that date, as I understand it, and the forward-looking scheme will operate from there. If it is not on the fact of the Act, it was the clear statement of the Government at the time, and the policy of the then Opposition was to support it, so I can confirm that it would be our intention for any forward-looking scheme to deal with victims from that time.