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Usdaw says axing compensation for victims of violent crime is 'grossly disproportionate'

Date: 09 October 2012 The shopworkers' Union Usdaw has reacted with dismay to Chris Grayling's failure to rule out cuts to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme in his speech to the Conservative Party Conference this afternoon.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme awards compensation to over 30,000 people each year who are seriously injured following a crime of violence. Cuts to the scheme proposed by the Tory-led Coalition will mean half of victims will receive nothing in future and almost 90% will lose out, including the most seriously injured and even the children of murder victims.

The Government is scheduled to make a second attempt to force through the cuts when the House of Commons returns next week and a revised and drastically weakened Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme could be in place by 5 November.

Usdaw is campaigning hard against the cuts on behalf of the many shopworkers injured every year in robberies and assaults at work. Commenting on Chris Grayling's speech, John Hannett, Usdaw's General Secretary said:

"Chris Grayling's failure to even mention support for victims, let alone rule out cutting that support is extremely disappointing and makes Tory claims to be on the side of victims ring very hollow indeed.

"The imminent cuts to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme are grossly disproportionate. They will have a profoundly damaging impact on the victims of violent crime and their families yet make little if any difference to the state of the nation's finances.

"If the Government is really serious about putting victims of crime first it should scrap the cuts to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme."

Notes for Editors:

  1. The revised Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme was due to come into force on 30 September, but Justice Minister Helen Grant was forced to withdraw it after it was savaged by both Conservative and Labour MPs in Committee on 10 September. The proceedings of the Committee can be heard at: www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=11385 and read at: www.parliament.uk/business/publications/hansard/commons/this-weeks-public-bill-general-committee-debates/read/?date=2012-09-10&itemId=126
  2. The Ministry of Justice has re-listed the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme as legislation to be taken before 22 October (see: www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmfbusi/c01.htm). This means the scheme and any revisions that ministers choose to make, are scheduled to be considered from the week commencing 15 October, when the House of Commons returns after the conference season.
  3. The Ministry of Justice has also confirmed that, if the original proposals are adjusted, a further revised scheme could be rushed through both the House of Lords and a House of Commons Delegated Legislation Committee in just one day, allowing little if any opportunity for changes to be scrutinised. The new compensation scheme would then take effect just two weeks after the legislation was passed - by 5 November at the latest.
  4. Despite the Government continuing to suggest otherwise, the current scheme is already on a sustainable financial footing and not even the most seriously affected victims would receive a penny more from the revised scheme.
  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