§ Mr. Galloway
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will establish an inquiry into the range of sentences available to the courts in cases relating to road accidents and into the legal rights of victims' families in such cases.
§ Mr. John Patten
A review of offences and penalties in road traffic law, under the chairmanship of Dr. Peter North, is nearing completion. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport expects to receive the report shortly.
The rights of victims' families, which are outside the review's remit, include a right to damages recoverable in civil proceedings, and normally paid by the offender's insurers or the Motor Insurers Bureau; and in England and Wales the same right as other citizens to bring prosecutions for criminal offences. The Government are doing much to assist victims of crime in general and their families—for example, through the financial help we are giving to victim support schemes — in England and Wales, £9 million over three years from 1987–88. I have no plans for a separate inquiry in relation to victims of road traffic offences.