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Lord Archer of Sandwell: I was not wholly surprised when the noble Baroness said that the Government would object to writing these matters into the Bill for the reasons which we have debated already. I say simply that I am unrepentant. These seem to me to be matters of sufficient importance to be in the Bill. As regards the specific matters which I sought to raise with the noble Baroness, I was a little sorry that she regarded these as peripheral expenses. It seems to me that getting one's housework done or making one's garden look tidy are matters of some considerable importance to someone who has suffered an injury. The noble Baroness asked how we could possibly assess what those tasks are worth. In many cases people have to pay someone to perform those tasks and therefore there is no difficulty in assessing that. I fail to understand the Government's objection. If the noble Baroness had said that the Government would try to write this provision into the scheme I would have been mollified. However, I am not mollified and I propose to invite the opinion of the Committee on Amendment No. 10.

Baroness Blatch: I do not rise to deter the noble and learned Lord from doing that. I simply rise to say that I hope that I have not been misunderstood when I used

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the word "peripheral". I certainly did not use it in a derogatory sense. I meant that the provisions mentioned were peripheral to the core compensation which the Government have recognised; that is, the tariff for the injury, loss of earnings, care and aftercare for an injury. Those are the core considerations that have been accepted by the Government. It is in that sense only that these other expenses are considered peripheral. Although someone may have to pay for his garden to be done that is still no proof that it was a task that he necessarily did before his injury. It is difficult for the board to prove the validity of some of these other claims for compensation.

Lord Archer of Sandwell: I am grateful to the noble Baroness. I readily forgive her use of the word "peripheral". However, we want these heads of compensation in the scheme. The noble Baroness says that we cannot have them. I fear that we are no closer than we were before she explained her use of the word "peripheral". The noble Baroness said that one could not know whether someone had done his garden before he was injured. However, if I were injured on my way home this evening and the question arose as to whether I had done my garden I could easily invite members of the board or anyone else to look at the garden. It seems to me that the Government are clutching at straws to find reasons why a perfectly reasonable head of compensation should not be included in the scheme. In those circumstances I propose to invite the opinion of the Committee.

6.37 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 10) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 37; Not-Contents, 95.

Division No. 2


Archer of Sandwell, L.
Blackstone, B.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
David, B.
Dean of Beswick, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L. [Teller.]
Eatwell, L.
Ewing of Kirkford, L.
Falkender, B.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L. [Teller.]
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jeger, B.
Judd, L.
Kilbracken, L.
Lockwood, B.
Longford, E.
Macaulay of Bragar, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Monkswell, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Sefton of Garston, L.
Serota, B.
Simon, V.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
White, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.


Abinger, L.
Aldington, L.
Balfour, E.
Barber, L.
Beloff, L.
Bethell, L.
Blake, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Blyth, L.
Boardman, L.
Borthwick, L.
Boyd-Carpenter, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Cadman, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carnock, L.
Chesham, L.[Teller.]
Courtown, E.
Craigavon, V.
Cranborne, V. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Cross, V.
Cumberlege, B.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Downshire, M.
Eccles of Moulton, B.
Elles, B.
Faithfull, B.
Flather, B.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Gisborough, L.
Goschen, V.
Greenway, L.
Harmsworth, L.
Harrowby, E.
Harvington, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Hertford, M.
HolmPatrick, L.
Hooper, B.
Howe, E.
Inglewood, L.
Jeffreys, L.
Kimball, L.
Kingsland, L.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lauderdale, E.
Leigh, L.
Lindsay, E.
Lindsey and Abingdon, E.
Long, V.
Lonsdale, E.
Lucas, L.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Macleod of Borve, B.
Merrivale, L.
Mersey, V.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Milverton, L.
Monson, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Munster, E.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Napier and Ettrick, L.
Norrie, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B.
Orkney, E.
Orr-Ewing, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Pender, L.
Prentice, L.
Rawlings, B.
Rennell, L.
Renton, L.
Rodger of Earlsferry, L.
Seccombe, B.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Strange, B.
Strathclyde, L. [Teller.]
Sudeley, L.
Swinfen, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Trumpington, B.
Tugendhat, L.
Vivian, L.
Wakeham, L.
Wynford, L.
Young, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

16 Oct 1995 : Column 629

6.46 p.m.

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 11:

Page 2, line 11, at end insert ("or otherwise determined in accordance with the Scheme").

The noble Baroness said: Amendment No. 11 is intended to make it clear beyond doubt that the scheme may provide for awards in fatal cases to include, in addition to the fixed tariff award, additional amounts calculated in accordance with the scheme. That will allow payment to be made for such other elements as reasonable funeral expenses and loss of dependency and support. Those elements are not fixed or specified, and so provision could not be made for them under subsection (2)(d) as it stands at present. Rather, they will be calculated by reference to the circumstances of the case, not on the basis of the fixed tariff. The amendment simply ensures that such payments can properly be made. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

16 Oct 1995 : Column 630

Lord Archer of Sandwell moved Amendment No. 12:

Page 2, line 11, at end insert ("which amounts may include additional compensation to reflect the extent the claims officer is satisfied the applicant was financially dependent on the deceased and (in the event of the deceased's income at the time of death being limited to state benefits) the extent the claims officer is satisfied the applicant was likely to become financially dependent on the deceased.").

The noble and learned Lord said: Perhaps I may begin by expressing our appreciation of the open-mindedness shown by the Government up to this stage about fatal injuries. The concessions in Clause 2(2)(e), as elaborated in the scheme, are very much to be welcomed.

One of the concessions that the scheme includes is the possibility of additional compensation where the claimant was financially dependent on the deceased. So far so good. However, there is one limitation which puzzles us. It is provided that a dependency will not be established if the deceased's only normal income was from state benefits. We are puzzled for two reasons. First, if someone was in receipt of benefit which included an element for dependent family we are not clear why that ought not to be reflected in compensation if that income ceases to be forthcoming. If there is a reason for that it is not self-evident.

There is a further point which puzzles us. We wonder whether it is really the intention to exclude the family of a victim who had reasonable prospects of future employment but who happened at the moment of his or her death to be dependent on public benefits. If a person had been receiving a small amount in wages at that time he would not have been excluded. Why exclude him because at that moment he happened to be fully in receipt of statutory benefits? We move the amendment more in bewilderment than anger. I await the response of the noble Baroness. I beg to move.

Baroness Blatch: I hope that I can clarify the point for the noble and learned Lord. The amendment seeks to ensure that in fatal cases payment may be made to reflect the applicant's financial dependency on the deceased victim. But, as the noble and learned Lord already knows, the amendment is not necessary to secure that. The scheme already provides for that.

As we made clear when we first announced the broad parameters of the enhanced tariff scheme, it was always the intention that in fatal cases, in addition to the fixed tariff award, additional payment would be made for loss of dependency and loss of parental support. When we came to draft the scheme itself we quickly realised that the powers conferred by Clause 2(2)(d) of the Bill were not in fact adequate for that purpose. That is why we brought forward an amendment of our own—we have just discussed it—to correct that omission.

The government amendment will ensure that loss of dependency can be paid. It will also ensure, as this amendment does not, that we will be able to pay for loss of parental support as well.

The new scheme will carry forward the position from the previous ones whereby financial dependency cannot be founded on social security benefits which the deceased has received. It nevertheless allows an

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assessment of dependency to be made where, for example, the deceased was only temporarily unemployed or where there was otherwise clear evidence that the deceased was about to start work, thereby enabling a reasoned assumption to be made about the extent to which his family had lost the benefit of his potential earnings.

If one partner dies who at the time of death had been receiving state benefit, that state benefit ceases on his death. If the dependent partner, still living, qualifies for state benefit in his or her own right, that issue will be addressed by the state. If the need for state benefit disappears, the person will not receive state benefit. State benefit is paid only where the beneficiary qualifies for it. For example, if state benefit were given to a husband who subsequently dies as a result of a criminal injury and the wife is left bereft without means of support she will qualify for state benefit. It is not the scheme but the state that should compensate for the particular circumstances of a person if he or she qualifies under the rules of state benefit.

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