Like many of your readers, no doubt, I was shocked by the tragic and futile murder of Jo Cox MP.
My heart aches for the loss that has been so cruelly thrust upon her husband and children. One hopes that they will be able to make plans for their future free from economic pressures given the loss not only of her love, guidance and companionship, but also her financial contribution. Unfortunately, state provision through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme will not achieve this.
Early on in the coalition administration, the government forced through reforms which led to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2012. Before this the Cox family would have been entitled to compensation for the mother’s loss of earnings limited to £38,142 per annum (as it stood in 2010). Under the 2012 scheme, the coalition slashed the claim for future loss of earnings to an annual figure equivalent to statutory sick pay – currently £4,599.40 per annum.
It is true to say that Jo Cox’s children would also be entitled to a new payment of £2,000 per year until they reach their 18th birthday. While this reduces the gap a little, the difference in provision between the new and previous schemes remains huge.
If the savage curtailment of the loss of earnings entitlement were not shocking enough, there is also the matter of the compensation provided for bereavement. For bereavement damages, Brendon Cox and his two children would each get an award of £5,500.
Of course, no amount of money can ever come close to replacing what the Cox family have lost. It would be wrong to suggest otherwise. That does not, however, justify a failure to meet the public’s desire to assist grieving families in their darkest moments.
When the new scheme was introduced, injury practitioners reacted with horror. Perhaps this illustration of how it can apply in practice will mean that others will see the regime for what it is.
Richard Edwards, senior solicitor, Potter Rees Dolan, Manchester