The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority was set up by Harold Wilson’s Labour government in 1964 on the classically Rousseauian bourgeois principle that the state is there to protect people from harm and if it fails to do so it should pay them money. Despite this and “award-capping” by the Tories in the 90s, not to mention gross inefficiency, it provides a lifeline to people hurt and disabled by crime.
Now the government is proposing to overhaul the scheme. According to Home Office minister Fiona Mactaggart, the idea is to “create a structure to help people to survive and not spend the whole of the rest of their lives as victims.” In other words, cuts.
Under the government’s proposals, half of the 40,000 people each year who receive financial awards from the CICA will instead get “practical help”. This could be anything from psychotherapy to vouchers for cosmetic treatment or just the phone number of a local locksmith!
The government’s message is the New Labour neo-Tebbitite one that victims of criminal injury should stand on their own two feet and rejoin the labour market. Whether they actually believe this or this proposal is merely a function of their obsessive-compulsive drive to save a few pennies and get a few more people into dead-end jobs, who knows?