The government has been criticised for forcing through cuts to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.
The scheme, which provides financial support to individuals injured as a result of crime, costs the government £192m a year. The proposals, approved by a legislation committee, will remove funding for the lower-tier bands of injuries such as broken ribs, burns and scalding and speech impairment, and reduce the compensation for more serious injuries such as significant facial scarring, brain injury and fractures resulting in a continual significant disability. The cuts are estimated to save £50m a year.
The government had tried to introduce the cuts in September but backtracked when the proposal received criticism from all parties.
The proposals are expected to be adopted by Parliament in the coming weeks.
The process was criticised by shadow justice minister Robert Flello, who accused the Conservatives of “stacking” the committee by ensuring people on the government payroll were present for the vote.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said that “taxpayers’ money is better spent providing support to the most seriously-injured victims of crime”.
A £500,000 ‘hardship fund’ will be set up for low earners who are forced to take time off work because of their injuries and are not covered by a sick pay scheme.
Usdaw general secretary John Hannett blasted the government for its decision. “The Tory-led coalition turned its back on the victims of violent crime and did so in a way so totally shameless and outrageous it should never be trusted on law and order again,” he said. “To add further insult to injury, it tells victims that instead they might be able to go cap in hand to an ill-defined ‘hardship fund’ worth just 1% of the support they have taken away.”