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Overseas Terrorism

Volume 535: debated on Tuesday 8 November 2011

The issue of compensation for victims of terrorism overseas is being considered alongside the Government’s review of victims’ services and compensation, at the conclusion of which we will publish a consultation document. We plan to make an announcement on victims of terrorism overseas at the same time as we launch the consultation, which we intend will be before Christmas.

Déjà vu, Mr Speaker: on 28 June, when my hon. Friend the Member for Derby North (Chris Williamson) asked a question on compensation for victims of overseas terrorism, the Minister replied:

“In the coming weeks we intend to launch a public consultation on victims services”—[Official Report, 28 June 2011; Vol. 530, c. 749.]

Nineteen weeks down the road, we are still waiting for it. Will the Minister please tell me this: will he put the victims first and forget about his petty differences with the Opposition?

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that I have no petty differences with the Opposition. There are a number of difficult issues to resolve, but the delay is absolutely in the interests of victims, as we identify greater resources so that we can wrestle with the wretched situation that we inherited from the criminal injuries compensation scheme, which was £750 million in debt. We must sort those things out, and once we have done so, we will be able to come forward with a satisfactory policy for victims of crime.

May I say to the Minister that this is an inherited matter that has now lasted for 18 months? There is an obligation on the Government to sort it out soon. Can he give a commitment that victims will get their answer before the end of this calendar year?