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Troubles Permanent Disablement Payment Scheme

Volume 743: debated on Wednesday 17 January 2024

4. What recent discussions he has had with the Administration in Northern Ireland on ensuring timely payments from the troubles permanent disablement payment scheme to eligible individuals. (900951)

Like the hon. Member, I too am quite surprised that he is that popular. [Interruption.] I am sorry; I misread the room again.

The troubles permanent disablement payment scheme is a devolved matter delivered by the Victims’ Payments Board. I met Judge McAlinden, the president of the board, last week to discuss those matters.

According to recent evidence presented to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committeethis is actually very serious; it is not a joke, so maybe Members would like to listen—it could take more than 10 years to process the applications for the troubles victims’ compensation scheme, meaning that victims in Northern Ireland who have waited decades for compensation to be delivered will need to wait even longer. Can the Secretary of State advise not only the House but those awaiting payment what his Government are doing to deliver that compensation scheme?

As I said, having met Judge McAlinden, I am conducting a review of the operation of the scheme, which will report before August this year. The review is under way, and I very much hope that it will address all those matters so that those who qualify for the payments get them in a much more expedited way.

Given the length of time it takes in many cases to gather the supporting evidence to make a claim under the scheme, the pressures on the payments board itself, and the strong likelihood that many of those who are potentially eligible are yet to apply, it is clear that there is a risk that many who could be eligible for a payment might miss out as things stand. One way the Secretary of State could mitigate that is by extending the period allowed for claims to be made and processed. As part of the review, will he consider extending that deadline?