Savaged Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme comes into force on 27 November

Date: 14 November 2012 The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority has today confirmed that the revised Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme will come into force on Tuesday 27 November.

From this date, the vast majority of innocent victims of violent crime will discover they are either no longer eligible for any compensation or that the amount they could receive for their injuries has been slashed.

On Monday evening, Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs controversially approved the revised Scheme, which will cut or axe altogether the financial support given to nearly 90% of the victims of violent crime. The Scheme currently awards compensation to between 30,000 and 40,000 people each year who are seriously injured following a crime of violence and who cannot obtain recompense from any other source, such as their assailant.

Despite opposition from Usdaw, the Labour Party and a range of other organisations who condemned the changes as 'ill conceived, unnecessary and callous', MPs voted by 275 votes to 231 to approve the cuts.

Today's announcement means that innocent victims of violent crime have until 23.59 on Monday 26 November to submit a claim that will be considered under the existing scheme. After this date, claims for any incident, whether it occurred before or after midnight on 26 November will be processed under the new and drastically reduced scheme.

The shopworkers' Union Usdaw has campaigned hard against the cuts on behalf of the many retail staff injured every year in armed robberies and assaults at work, most of who will now find they are no longer eligible for any financial support. Usdaw has also condemned the manner in which the Tory-led Coalition forced through the cuts and called on the Government to do more to alert victims to the impending changes.

John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary said:

"The decision of Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs to support these cuts means that many injured victims of crime are going to suffer financially as well as physically. None of the MPs who supported the cuts should ever again have the gall to say they put victims of crime first.

"The entire process of making the cuts has been a shameful and frankly grubby episode in the exercise of government, one made all the more shocking because it's innocent victims of violent crime who are going to suffer.

"The Government should do much more to make victims aware of the changes, but I suspect its silence reflects the weakness of its own case for the cuts and the inherent embarrassment of highlighting them.

"Usdaw urges anyone who has been injured in the course of a crime to submit an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority as soon as possible and by 26 November at the latest."

Notes for Editors:

  1. View a copy of the email circulated today by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
  2. On Monday evening, Labour forced a vote on the Statutory Instrument used to implement the cuts to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. The record of how MPs voted on Monday evening can be found at: www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm121112/debtext/121112-0004.htm#1211132000005
  3. Cuts to the scheme were originally objected to by both Labour and Conservative MPs when they were considered by a Parliamentary committee on 10 September. Despite being withdrawn by the Government with the promise of a 'rethink', the very same proposals were subsequently re-tabled and backed 9 votes to 7 by Coalition MPs on 1 November. At the time, Usdaw and others accused the Government of stacking this committee with its payroll vote to ensure the cuts were approved second time around. Usdaw said that instead of a 'rethink', the Government had simply "changed the committee rather than the scheme." On 7 November, a Labour motion calling on the Government to reconsider the cuts was defeated by 289 votes to 209. This remains the only time all MPs had a chance to debate the cuts and the impact they will have on innocent victims of violent crime.
  4. The cuts will mean that victims of violent crime who suffer injuries such as permanent speech impairment, multiple broken ribs, post traumatic epileptic fits or burns and scarring that cause minor facial disfigurement, will no longer be eligible for any compensation. Victims who suffer injuries such as significant facial scarring, punctured or collapsed lungs, permanent brain injury resulting in impaired balance and headaches, fractured joints including elbows, knees and vertebra, resulting in continual significant disability, will have any compensation reduced by up to 60%. New conditions for payments for loss of earnings will limit payments to the level of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), currently just £85 a week. In addition, payments will also be limited to those who are never able to work again, or only in a severely reduced capacity. Compensation for loss of earnings will also be denied to any victims with a broken work record during the previous 3 years.
  5. For further information on the cuts to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and Usdaw's campaign against them please visit www.usdaw.org.uk/compensation
  6. Usdaw (the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest and fastest growing trade union with over 420,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 17% in the last five years and by nearly a third in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers