The government has announced it will delay proposed changes to compensation for victims of crime – just three days after defending its plans in parliament.
On Friday, new justice minister Helen Grant backed the government’s proposals to cut compensation for victims claiming less than £2,500. However it emerged yesterday that the Ministry of Justice has ordered a rethink.
In a statement, a spokesman for the MoJ said: ‘The government is committed to providing the best possible support for victims of crime - maintaining compensation for the most seriously affected - and to reforming the criminal injuries compensation scheme to put it on a sustainable financial footing.
‘We have listened to the views expressed in parliament and will now consider our next steps.’
The announcement amounts to a tacit admission that the government has failed to win parliamentary approval for the changes, which were due to come in to force on 30 September.
On Friday, Grant had told the Commons there was ‘no compelling case for maintaining payments for minor injuries’, adding that cuts would save the taxpayer £50m a year. She said liabilities for the compensation scheme overall stood at £532m, with new liabilities arising at a rate of £200m a year.
Shadow justice minister Rob Flello said the cuts would have affected innocent victims of crime.
‘At every turn, Labour is watching the actions of this government. The Tory-led government is putting the wrong people first, to date they've put the needs of victims at the bottom of their priority list.’
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and shop workers’ union Usdaw had opposed the changes, estimating that 30,000 people would be denied compensation if they were victims of a crime.