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The Bill provides a power to establish a new criminal injuries compensation scheme. It also repeals the provisions in the Criminal Justice Act 1988, which, if implemented, would have put the old, common law damages scheme on to a statutory footing.
Following the judgment of the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords, which was delivered on 5 April, we have been giving very careful thought to the arrangements which should be made for compensating those who have the misfortune to be injured as a result of a crime of violence.
The judgment related to the method of introduction of the tariff scheme, not its merits. The effect of the judgment was to require the 1990 common law damages scheme to be reinstated in place of the tariff-based approach which had been introduced on 1 April 1994. The costs of the common law damages scheme have risen very substantially since the scheme was first introduced in 1964 and more than doubled in real terms between 198788 and 199394. Although improvements have been made in administration of the scheme, we believe that a tariff-based approach offers greater scope for further improvement and the speedier settlement of cases. We remain of the view, therefore, that steps need to be taken to constrain future expenditure and to ensure that a quicker service is provided. This cannot be achieved within the framework of a system based entirely upon common law principles. We therefore remain of the view that the 1990 common law damages scheme should be replaced by a new tariff-based approach.
We have, however, considered very carefully the concerns which have been expressed about the effect which such an approach may have on those who are most seriously injured. We all have immense sympathy for such victims and the Government are anxious to do all that they can to safeguard their position. We have therefore come to the view that the tariff-based approach should be enhanced to provide payment for loss of earnings and special care for those who are incapacitated for more than 28 weeks (the period during which statutory sick pay is payable). We also propose that there should be provision for loss of dependency/support in fatal cases. In addition we propose that structured settlements should be available: these will greatly help those receiving the higher awards by providing a guaranteed, index linked, tax free income for life, thus considerably increasing the net benefit of the award for many victims.
We believe that a scheme of this sort will be fair while at the same time providing a mechanism for controlling future expenditure. Further details of the proposed scheme are set out in a paper entitled Criminal Injuries Compensation: proposals for a Tariff Based Scheme which has been placed in the Library.
Baroness Blatch: We have appointed the following persons to be members of the Animal Procedures Committee for four years with effect from 1 May: (i) Miss Cindy Millburn, Special Projects Director, World Society for the Protection of Animals. (ii) Dr. Jacqueline Southee, Manager, In-vitro Toxicology, Microbiological Associates Ltd. (iii) Mr. Les Ward, Director, Advocates for Animals.
The Minister of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish): Yes, we will publish an informal version of a Keeling Schedule. We will make available a copy of the full Child Support Act 1991 to show how it is amended by the Child Support Bill (as reprinted on entering the House of Lords). Copies will be made available to all Front Bench spokesmen and others will be placed in the Library and Printed Paper Office.
Every effort will be made to ensure that the draft is accurate, but since it will be made available by the Department of Social Security and not the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, it should not be taken as an authoritative statement of the legislation.
The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Viscount Ullswater): My right honourable friend the President of the Board of Trade has announced that he proposes to privatise parts of Nuclear Electric during 1996, and at the same time to end payments from the fossil fuel levy to the company ahead of the original schedule. Our climate change programme and recently published forecasts assumed the original schedule for the termination of these payments.
Early termination will mean that electricity prices will fall sooner than anticipated, which may result in some corresponding increase in the output of carbon dioxide in the short term. We are determined to ensure that we
We shall be looking for innovative pump-priming schemes involving all fuels, which require funding to get started and which are designed to take advantage of and enhance the effectiveness of the developing competitive markets for energy and energy services. We shall be looking for a positive emphasis on demand-side management measures and on the development of energy services companies.
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