Northern Ireland: Victims’ Payment Scheme - Private Notice Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:00 pm on 20th January 2021.

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Photo of Lord Empey Lord Empey UUP 1:00 pm, 20th January 2021

My Lords, on Monday, the Sinn Féin Finance Minister at Stormont produced a draft budget for the next financial year. In that budget, there was nil provision for payment of these pensions. I know that Sinn Féin is opposed to this scheme and had to be dragged kicking and screaming through the courts, but the main people we must focus on are the victims, whose trauma has been exacerbated throughout the struggle over the payment of these pensions. They have had to go to court once already; they may very well have to do so again. The situation is intolerable.

Having passed the legislation to ensure that these people are recompensed for these life-changing events over many years, surely we have a national responsibility to ensure that this pension is paid, and paid on time. Applications are due to start in March, yet there is no provision and no agreement. We are playing political football here. Can the Minister assure the House that these pensions will be paid in the next financial year; that applications will be accepted in March; and that this nonsense will come to an end before more people are traumatised?