Northern Ireland

Draft letter from parties on abuse compensation

man with head in hands Image copyright bodnarchuk
Image caption Payments to victims were recommended by the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry in 2017

A draft letter from party leaders appealing to the NI secretary to help victims of historical institutional abuse has been obtained by the BBC.

The letter is from the leaders of the six biggest parties at Stormont.

It calls on Karen Bradley to bring in legislation at Westminster to help victims receive compensation.

The letter also said compensation payments to survivors should start at £10,000 rather than £7,500.

The issue of how to compensate victims of historical institutional abuse has been part of high level political discussions in recent days.

The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA), chaired by Sir Anthony Hart, recommended compensation to abuse survivors.

He said payments, starting at £7,500, should be made to all survivors.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The inquiry was chaired by Sir Anthony Hart

But the collapse of Stormont stalled such payouts and Mrs Bradley, the secretary of state, has faced calls to speed up payments.

In April 2019, the High Court heard the Northern Ireland secretary and Executive Office were playing "pass the parcel" over who was responsible for implementing the compensation scheme.

The NI secretary said she would not bring legislation forward at Westminster in the absence of a devolved assembly.

Compensation

The BBC has obtained a draft letter calling for Mrs Bradley to act. It was written after the parties met to discuss the next step.

On the issue of redress. the party leaders said: "We have agreed that the entry level of award for compensation should be £10,000 rather than £7,500."

Regarding applications for people who have died the letter states: "We have agreed that the level of award to a deceased person's spouse or child should be 100% rather than 75%."

The parties also said: "We have agreed that the relevant date for an application on behalf of a deceased person should be 28 April 1953, rather than the date that the Executive announced the HIA Inquiry [29 September 2011]."

The letter also refers to the establishment of a panel and a commissioner.

Victims campaigners have welcomed the move.

Once the letter has been agreed by the party leaders - as is expected - it will be forwarded to the secretary of state.

Related Topics

More on this story