A legal framework for a Troubles-related incident Victims Payment Scheme

Closes 26 Nov 2019

Opened 22 Oct 2019

Overview

FOREWORD BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR NORTHERN IRELAND

 

More than 21 years on from the signing of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, Northern Ireland is a different place in so many positive ways.  But the legacy of the Troubles still casts a long shadow over many aspects of life in the here and now.

More than 3,500 people were killed and an estimated 40,000 injured during that awful period.  It is clear through engagement with victims, survivors and others that the hurt and suffering caused by decades of terrible violence have had a profound and deep-rooted impact not just on individuals but on generations of families in Northern Ireland, Great Britain and beyond.

Those living with the consequences of serious injury do so with a constant reminder of those dark days in our history. Many of their injuries are physical but a significant number of survivors also continue to suffer from deep psychological trauma. It is, therefore, not surprising that many struggle with normal daily routine tasks, and are struggling to cope financially.

There are no easy answers as to how we should address the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past. However, as a society we have a moral duty to acknowledge and recognise the unacceptable suffering of those seriously injured in the Troubles as part of wider efforts to  support Northern Ireland in building its future by doing more to address its past.

The Stormont House Agreement contained a commitment that “further work will be undertaken to seek an acceptable way forward on the proposal for a pension for severely physically injured victims in Northern Ireland”. For too long this matter has stalled on the question of who should and who should not benefit from it.

In this regard the UK Government has and continues to be clear that those injured by their own hand should not in any way benefit from any proposals to provide acknowledgement and recognition to victims injured through no fault of their own.

While it will always be the preference of this Government that such provision is made by a Northern Ireland Executive, in its absence we are publishing this proposal for how a scheme could be delivered. This is a crucial element of the Stormont House Agreement’s proposals to help address the legacy of the Troubles, and it is vital that we make progress across this and related matters. We are committed to delivering better outcomes for all those affected by the Troubles and to continuing to play our part in promoting peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

We would be grateful to hear views from anyone with an interest in this proposed scheme.

 

Rt Hon Julian Smith MP

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

 

Why We Are Consulting

Purpose

Under the provisions of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc.) Act 2019, the UK Government will bring forward legislation providing for a scheme of payments to those living with injuries sustained in Troubles-related incidents by 31 January 2020, if an Executive is not formed by 21 October; and will make arrangements for that legislation to have effect by 31 May 2020.

The Government is seeking views on these proposals and specifically on the matters covered by this consultation from all interested parties, individuals and groups from across the United Kingdom.

The proposals set out here require legislation and will have a direct impact on peoples’ lives. The Government recognises the need to keep the public informed on such important matters and to allow people the opportunity to comment on the policy proposals. This consultation therefore invites people to answer a number of questions in relation to the proposals. These questions are posed throughout the document. A complete list of questions can be found at the end of the consultation document.

Consultation scope

This consultation applies to all of the United Kingdom.

Timetable

The consultation closes to responses on 26 November 2019. This is shorter than our standard period of consultation due to the requirement to lay Regulations providing for this scheme by 31 January 2020 under the terms of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019.

Responding to the consultation

The Government would welcome feedback from anyone with an interest or view on the proposed shape of this reform, addressing the specific questions listed throughout the consultation document.

Our preferred method of receiving your response is via our electronic consultation questionaire.  You can access this by clicking the link to 'Respond Online' at the bottom of this page.

If you provide your response online you can give your answer straight away, pause and return to your response later (as long as you reply within the deadline set) and you needn't respond to all of the questions to submit your response. You can also submit your response anonymously.

Alternatively, you may complete the response form found alongside this consultation document. If possible, we would be grateful for this form to be returned to us electronically as an email attachment. The email address for responses or queries is: vpconsultation@nio.gov.uk

Postal responses can be sent to:

Victims Payments consultation

Northern Ireland Office

Stormont House

Stormont Estate

Belfast

BT4 3SH

When responding, please state whether you are doing so as an individual or representing the views of an organisation. If you are responding on behalf of an organisation, please make it clear who the organisation represents and, where applicable, how the views of members were assembled.

A hard copy of this consultation document, and the corresponding response form is available on request, using the email address provided above.

Consultation Principles

This consultation is being conducted in line with the Cabinet Office consultation principles published in January 2016. A copy of the principles can be found online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/consultation-principles-guidance

It is also being conducted in line with the Northern Ireland Office Equality Scheme which can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nio-equality-scheme

An Equality Screening of the impact of the proposals in this consultation is available on the consultation website at or can be obtained in hardcopy on request.

Confidentiality

The information you send us may need to be shared with colleagues within the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), other relevant Government departments and relevant Northern Ireland Executive departments. The information might also be published in a summary of responses received and referred to in the published consultation report. The Government summary of responses to this consultation and published consultation report will include a list of organisations that responded but not individual names without receiving permission from the individual. Other personal details will not be published in the consultation response.

All information contained in your response, including personal information, may be subject to publication or disclosure if requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. By providing personal information for the purposes of this public consultation exercise, it is understood that you consent to its possible disclosure and publication. If this is not the case, you should limit any personal information provided, or omit it entirely. If you want the information in your response to the consultation to be kept confidential, please state so clearly in your response - although please note that this cannot be guaranteed.

To find out more about the general principles of Freedom of Information and how it is applied in the Northern Ireland Office, please contact: foi@nio.gov.uk

In some consultations, external analysts may be contracted for the purpose of response analysis. If external analysts are used with this consultation, the Northern Ireland Office may share information you provided in response to the consultation, including personal data, with a third party of contracted external analysts.

The Northern Ireland Office is the data controller in respect of any personal data that you provide and NIO’s Information Charter, which sets out the standards you can expect in respect of the handling of your personal data, can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/northern-ireland-office/about/personalinformation-charter

 

Please share your views on the consultation questions

Audiences

  • Anyone from any background

Interests

  • Consultation