Northern Ireland

HIA compensation: Bradley told final legislation is ready

Stormont protest by historical institutional abuse victims in April 2017
Image caption Campaigners have been calling for HIA compensation to be implemented since early 2017

Redrafted legislation to provide compensation to victims of historical institutional abuse has been sent to the Northern Ireland Secretary, Karen Bradley.

Payments to victims were recommended by the HIA Inquiry in 2017.

However, the process stalled when devolution collapsed.

On Thursday, the head of the NI civil service wrote to victims informing them Mrs Bradley had been sent the final version of the redrafted legislation.

Initial payments

In the letter, seen by BBC News NI, David Sterling said "necessary amendments" have now been made.

He urged Mrs Bradley to take the steps needed "to ensure this is enacted through Parliament".

It is understood the new draft legislation includes a clause that would allow a redress board to make initial payments of £10,000 in situations where compensation should be awarded.

A final amount, though, has yet to be determined.

There have been calls for the matter to be progressed immediately through Westminster.

Two months ago, Mrs Bradley said she could not "simply take the matter through Parliament".

She later held talks with the Stormont political parties on the proposed legislation, which was then redrafted with changes regarding the level of basic payments victims should receive.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Karen Bradley has told victims she wants the matter to be resolved as quickly as possible

Mr Sterling has also written to the main Stormont party leaders.

Some victims had called on Westminster to push through the legislation before the summer recess on 25 July.

But last Sunday, the interim victims advocate, Brendan McAllister, said he did not expect the process to facilitate compensation payments to be finalised by September.

A UK government spokesperson said the government was grateful to the Executive Office for the "hard work turning the parties' decisions into draft legislation".

"We will consider it urgently and then take the necessary steps to introduce the legislation in Westminster, if this is still the quickest route and the executive is not restored.

"The government has committed in Parliament that we will introduce legislation by the end of the year at the latest."

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