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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 August 2005, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
London victims compensation row
Bombed bus in Tavistock Square
Thirteen people died in the bus blast in Tavistock Square
The families of those killed in the London terror attacks will be eligible for basic bereavement compensation of 11,000, it has been announced.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority says payments for financial loss could take the amount paid to dependants to a maximum of 500,000.

The Home Office argues the scheme to compensate victims of crime is one of the most generous in the world.

But victims' groups described the level of compensation as "a pittance".

According to the scheme's strict guidelines, the 11,000 sum is a basic payout for loss.

This is and can be no more than a mark of public sympathy, recognising your grief
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

If more than one family member of a 7 July victim applies, they will get 5,500 each.

Those financially dependent on a victim can also apply for compensation for earnings lost as a result of the death.

Dependent children are entitled to 2,000 a year until age 18, and families can also obtain "reasonable" extra payments to cover funeral costs.

Survivors who are seriously debilitated can claim a maximum of 500,000 compensation, loss of earnings and care costs.

'Same rules'

Many families of those killed will receive bereavement pay-outs which are only a fraction of the maximum compensation levels.

Murder destroys far more than just the victim's life, it destroys the lives of families and communities
Victims of Crime Trust

But the authority says these smaller sums should be regarded only as a "token of public sympathy".

The authority's Howard Webber said: "We are applying the same rules we apply following a death or injury following criminal violence."

'Tragedy'

He rejected suggestions that the payouts were mean, compared with the average 2m received by relatives of those killed in the 11 September terror attacks, saying comparisons were inappropriate.

COMPENSATION LEVELS
11,000 basic pay-out for lost loved one
2,000 a year for dependent children
Financial dependents may get bigger payment for loss
500,000 maximum payment
1,000 to 250,000 payments for serious injuries
Loss of earnings for injured maximum 31,000 yearly
500,000 maximum payout for injury
Trauma payments from 1,000 to 27,000. Maximum 500,000

A spokesman for the Victims of Crime Trust said bereaved relatives should be given 100 times more because they would have to live with "tragedy" for the rest of their lives.

"Murder destroys far more than just the victim's life, it destroys the lives of families and communities, and it's about time the government raised its level of payments," he said.

'Stark contrast'

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Mark Oaten said families and friends of victims would be "dismayed" by the basic compensation.

The London Bombing Relief Charity Fund set up by mayor Ken Livingstone said on Wednesday it had attracted donations approaching 8m.

Interim grants of 5,000 are currently available to families of those who died, and grants of 3,000 can be applied for by those admitted to hospital overnight.

Mr Oaten urged the government to at least match the "public generosity" of the London fund.

But a spokesman later said he was not suggesting there should be an increase in the basic bereavement payment to families of all murder victims.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Victim Laura Webb's brother speaks about compensation



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