Page last updated at 17:58 GMT, Monday, 18 January 2010

Terror compensation scheme unveiled for victims abroad

Bali bombing
Victims of the Bali bombings in 2002 could be eligible for compensation

A new scheme to compensate British victims of terrorism abroad has been announced by the government.

It would apply when people were not covered by schemes in the country where an attack took place.

Currently compensation covers victims who are killed or injured in terrorist incidents in the UK only.

Although the measures will not be fully retrospective, ministers said victims of terrorism overseas since 2002 would be eligible for compensation.

Details of that part of the scheme would be announced at a later date, Home Secretary Alan Johnson said.

Injuries suffered

Justice Secretary Jack Straw said: "Terrorism is intended as a political statement and an attack on society as a whole.

"Therefore it is right that, as a tangible expression of sympathy, society should compensate the victims of terrorist attacks abroad in recognition of the injuries suffered."

The government said the Victims of Overseas Terrorism Compensation Scheme would broadly mirror the existing domestic criminal injuries compensation scheme which operates in England, Scotland and Wales.

The amount of compensation would be calculated according to a tariff based on the seriousness of injury.

'Ongoing consequences'

The scheme was announced by Mr Johnson, Mr Straw, Foreign Secretary David Milliband and Humanitarian Assistance Minister Tessa Jowell.

It will cover terrorist incidents abroad with immediate effect.

The scheme will also apply to victims of attacks since January 2002 in recognition of those who "continue to face hardship as a result of the ongoing consequences of a disability arising from the injuries they sustained".

It will be contained in the Crime and Security Bill which is currently making its way through Parliament, and be administered by the Glasgow-based Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

Incidents where UK victims of terrorism abroad and their families have campaigned for compensation include attacks in Mumbai in 2008, Sharm al-Sheikh in 2005, and Bali in 2002.

'Rollercoaster ride'

Trevor Lakin, from Peterborough, has campaigned for a compensation scheme since his son Jeremy Lakin, 28, and his son's girlfriend Annalie Vickers were among the Britons killed in Sharm al-Sheikh.

The father was in the House of Commons to hear Mr Johnson make the announcement.

Mr Lakin told the BBC News website: "It's absolutely brilliant. We've been fighting for four-and-a-half years to get this.

"We came very close before Christmas but that failed because the MoD wanted to clarify the position of military personnel.

"We were aware things were about to happen and I travelled down to London to actually sit in the House to hear Alan Johnson say that. It's fantastic."

He added: "We always knew that retrospectivity was difficult but I think the government realised that since 9/11 there were issue for victims.

"There was no way we could stand by and do nothing for all those who have suffered.

"It's been a rollercoaster ride trying to persuade the powers that be that those affected deserve support."

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