§ Sir Ivan Lawrence
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to publish the White Paper setting out more detailed proposals for changing the criminal injuries compensation scheme; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Howard
I have today published the White Paper. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House.
The Secretary of State for Scotland and I are jointly responsible for the criminal injuries compensation scheme and for the new arrangements.
The main features of those arrangements are that compensation will no longer be assessed on a basis comparable to common law damages. Instead, payment will be made from a tariff (or scale) of awards for injuries of comparable severity. All eligible applicants with a similar injury will be treated in the same way. This will make the new scheme more straightforward and simpler to administer. It should also be easier for claimants to understand, and they should now have a much better idea when they apply what award they might expect to receive.
The tariff levels have been set by reference to awards made in the recent past by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. The lower limit will remain unchanged at £1,000, and there will be 25 tariff levels ranging from that threshold to £¼ million for the most serious category of injury. The basic rules of eligibility will remain broadly the same as under the present scheme.
The tariff scheme will be run by a non-departmental public body, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). There will also be a new independent appeals panel to which those dissatisfied with the authority's decision will be able to appeal.
Our compensation scheme is one of the most generous schemes in the world, and will remain so when the tariff scheme is introduced. We believe the new tariff scheme should enable us to provide a better service to the blameless victims of violent crime.