HC Deb 09 November 1961 vol 648 cc1155-6
23. Mr. C. Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has now given further consideration to the report of the working party on compensation for victims of crimes of violence; and if he will now introduce a scheme to deal with this matter.

36. Mr. Prentice

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a further statement on the question of compensation for the victims of criminal injuries; and whether he will introduce legislation on this matter during the current session.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The White Paper which I presented to Parliament in June made it clear that there were several questions of principle and many practical difficulties to resolve before a decision could be taken to introduce any scheme of compensation. A number of bodies have undertaken to let me have their views on these matters, and I am awaiting these before making any further statement of Government policy.

Mr. Johnson

Will the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking that, if a practical and workable scheme is submitted to him by bodies such as "Justice", which has set up a widely representative committee on the matter, he will give it serious and sympathetic consideration?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Prentice

Are there really any difficulties disclosed by the White Paper which could not be solved in a month or two? Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the longer the matter is delayed the more people will be injured without compensation? Will he keep open the possibility of legislation in this Session?

Mr. Butler

I do not think that there will be time for legislation this Session. I am aware of the importance of the matter.

Miss Bacon

Will the Home Secretary do everything he can as soon as possible? Is he aware that there is a widespread feeling both inside and outside the House that something should be done quickly?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir.