Northern Ireland Budget (No. 2) Bill

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 6:15 pm on 9th July 2018.

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Photo of Tony Lloyd Tony Lloyd Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 6:15 pm, 9th July 2018

The hon. Lady’s comments are very helpful. Better than writing, we raised the matter in Northern Ireland questions. I challenged the Secretary of State—I challenge her again today—to recognise the strength of the Chief Constable’s words and demands and to follow words with legitimate action, as the hon. Lady says. That is the right way forward.

We need Government action on a number of other issues raised in the mini-budget debate in March, including the follow-up to the Hart inquiry. The question of historical institutional abuse will not go away, except, sadly, as victims begin to disappear. It cannot be right that victims whose lives were made massively more difficult, and sometimes nearly impossible, have to wait year after year to find resolution to historical abuse. It is important that there is a clear timetable for consultation. I understand the limitations for the civil service, but given the time-sensitive nature of the inquiry for the victims, we need a clear path for the consultation process on the historical institutional abuse inquiry and the future of the Hart inquiry.

That leads me to the question of pensions for victims of the troubles, which is consistently raised. In fact, this is more straightforward for the Secretary of State in that I believe it is possible to fund it through the Westminster purse rather than through the Northern Ireland purse. One way or another, the amounts of money involved—£2 million to £3 million—would be well containable within any budget. Because of the time-sensitive nature of the question—people whose lives were made difficult are growing older and disappearing—we need firm action.