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Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:41 pm on 5th November 2019.

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Photo of Julian Smith Julian Smith The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 2:41 pm, 5th November 2019

With the leave of the House, Madam Deputy Speaker, I just want to come back on a few points that I was asked about. Before I do, may I thank my ministerial colleagues in the Northern Ireland Office? No Secretary of State could ask for better colleagues than the two on either side of me at the Dispatch Box today, who have also played an incredible part in trying to move this Bill forward.

Stephen Pound raised the issue of the financing of the scheme and the timetable. As I mentioned in my opening remarks, officials in the Executive Office are already working on the implementation programme. They aim to make shadow board appointments to work on policies, procedures and standards so that the board can start considering claims as soon as practicable after it is officially launched. Officials in the Executive Office are also working hard to ensure that the consideration of claims can begin as soon as practicable after the Bill becomes law, and exploring the possibility of opening up applications in advance of the establishment of the board. Obviously, we will all want to do whatever we can. In particular, the Government will do whatever we can to make sure that we play our part in moving things forward as quickly as possible.

The funding for the scheme comes from the block grant, but clearly we will be making sure that we do everything we can to support the Executive Office.