Coalition votes to slash or axe the financial support given to nearly 90% of victims of violent crime.
Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs have voted to support proposed cuts to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme that will slash or axe altogether the financial support given to nearly 90% of the victims of violent crime.
Given the opportunity on Wednesday night to debate and oppose the cuts by a Labour call for the government to reconsider, Coalition MPs voted to ensure Labour’s motion was defeated by 289 votes to 209. Despite the motion’s heavy defeat, only a handful of Conservative MPs spoke in favour of the cuts.
Last night’s debate was the first and likely final time the government’s proposed cuts to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme will be debated by all MPs. The cuts are being implemented via a Statutory Instrument (SI), which is generally only used for non-contentious issues.
The SI was approved 9 votes to 7 by a Parliamentary Committee last week, despite the failure of a previous attempt following objections from Conservative back benchers. Usdaw and other campaigners against the changes accused the government of stacking the committee with its payroll vote to ensure the cuts were approved second time around.
The SI still needs to be formally laid before Parliament before it is enacted. If an objection is raised at this point, MPs will get another opportunity to vote on the cuts, but there is no provision for any further debate. The SI could be laid before Parliament with MPs getting just a few hours notice.
Responding to the vote, Usdaw general secretary John Hannett said: “On Wednesday night, Coalition MPs made the decision to pass by on the other side and abandon innocent victims of violent crime. As a result, the Government’s appalling record of making the most vulnerable pay to reduce the deficit is likely to reach a new low with injured crime victims next in line to suffer.
“Despite the vote, barely a handful of Coalition MPs were prepared to speak and publically back the cuts, so there remains some hope that even at this eleventh hour, some will wake up to the injustice of what is being proposed. If not, then I’m convinced the decision to target victims of crime in this way will come back to haunt the Coalition government and every single MP who supports it.
“Any government prepared to cut vital financial support from the innocent victims of violent crime, while at the same time handing out tax cuts to millionaires, has surely lost its moral compass.”
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