Updated: Friday, 14th August 2020 @ 11:54pm

Lib Dem urges Manchester MPs to oppose government reforms to crime victim compensation

Lib Dem urges Manchester MPs to oppose government reforms to crime victim compensation

By Sam Taylor

Manchester MPs must oppose government reforms to a compensation scheme for victims of crime, according to a Lib Dem MP.

John Leech opposes the government’s planned reforms to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and is backed by Labour’s Yvonne Fovargue and Andrew Gwynne.

Mr Leech signed an Early Day Motion in September to bring a debate about the issue to parliament.

"I make no apologies for urging the government to look at this again,” he said. “I call on the rest of Manchester's MPs to join this campaign for the victims of crime."

The scheme is designed to help victims of serious crime make up the loss in wages if they are forced to take time of work.

It also helps dependent children of murder and manslaughter victims.

Labour believes that the government still plans to cut the scheme’s funding by 90% despite the Minister for Justice withdrawing the proposals after MPs from opposing parties united in a Committee meeting on September 10.

Ms Fovargue and Mr Gwynne said the reforms would be worse for victims of crime and their families.

“The Tory-led government’s plans to cut financial support for the innocent victims of crime show how out of touch they are,” they said.

“It is hard to believe that the government are still determined to cut the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme after MPs from both sides criticised the cuts and the effect they would have on the injured victims of crime and on the children of murder victims.”

However, Michael Winstanley, Conservative candidate for Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner, said the reforms were necessary because the current scheme is no longer sustainable and suitable for all victims of crime.

“The reforms will see us move away from the previous ‘one size fits all’ model of supporting victims, with priority given instead to victims of serious crime, to the most vulnerable and to the most persistently targeted,” he said.

“Our reforms will see Police and Crime Commissioners using their local knowledge to ensure victims get the services they need,” he added. “They will raise up to an additional £50million from offenders to pay for more and better services for victims.”

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