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Lord Carlisle of Bucklow: The Minister will remember that the original abortive scheme as published did not allow for any payment to the dependants of those who were killed. One of the most major and welcome changes between the previous and present proposals is the fact that payments are to be made to those who are shown to be dependent on someone who, sadly, has been killed.

Perhaps I may ask one question out of interest. Since the Government have made that change, have they given any consideration as to why they leave the fatal award—it is the equivalent of the bereavement award—at a higher figure than at present and higher than the bereavement award figure? Had they consulted the Lord Chancellor's Department when they made that decision? What pressure do they believe that that will have on the Lord Chancellor's Department to raise the bereavement award in other cases?

Baroness Blatch: I cannot answer the second part of my noble friend's question. The Lord Chancellor's Department was consulted in arriving at this level of tariff.

Lord Archer of Sandwell: I am grateful to the noble Baroness. I understand that if the dependant receives state benefit after the death, account will have to be taken of that factor in calculating the amount of compensation. I do not believe that that is an issue between us. That does not require the blanket condition in the scheme. But what of this situation? The dominant wage earner has been unemployed at the time of his or her death but had every expectation of receiving employment within the next week, fortnight or month. That has nothing to do with whether someone else benefits from state sources. It represents a genuine loss of dependency. If the noble Baroness explained that, I confess that I did not follow the argument. If there is anything else to explain, I shall be happy to listen. If not, we shall have to continue to differ.

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Baroness Blatch: While I have a clear understanding of what I said I am always prepared to go back to the record to see how I answered the noble and learned Lord and to read what the noble and learned Lord asks me now.

My understanding is that if person A is in receipt of state benefit the other person, the husband or the wife, who is a dependant will represent part of the calculation of that benefit. When the person dies his or her claim for state benefit dies with him or her. However, the element representing the dependent monies for the wife or husband would be recalculated by the state. It is not for the scheme to compensate for that state benefit, but genuine qualification for state support which has ceased with the victim's death is addressed by the state.

I shall go back to the record and will continue to consider the matter. I believe that I am right in my understanding of it.

Lord Carlisle of Bucklow: With great respect to the Minister, surely the noble and learned Lord, Lord Archer, has a point. If someone is temporarily not working at the time of his death, it does not mean that there is no dependency if he were about to take up another job. One has to consider the whole work record in assessing whether there was dependency, whether he had been providing for the family and whether it would be reasonable to assume that he would provide again through work rather than referring to the short period that he was on state benefit. As I understood it, that was the point made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Archer.

Baroness Blatch: On that specific point, I have made it absolutely clear that if the person were temporarily unemployed, or there was an expectancy that the person was about to go to work, that would be a loss of dependency which would properly be catered for in the compensation arrangements.

Lord Archer of Sandwell: I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Carlisle. That does not diminish my gratitude to the noble Baroness. I had put two hypotheses to her, not one. I believe that that is where the confusion arose.

As she correctly appreciated, my first hypothesis related to a person in receipt of state benefit which includes an element for dependence. I believe she answered that point and I am grateful.

As the noble Lord, Lord Carlisle, pointed out, the other hypothesis related to someone who is temporarily in receipt of state benefit but who has every likelihood of shortly being employed, and where there will be a dependency. The noble Baroness states that that is provided for in the scheme. I confess that if that were true we have probably misconstrued the scheme. Perhaps we may consider the matter together at some stage. If we agree that the measure should include that provision, I am content.

Baroness Blatch: I think that I can be helpful. I repeat the point. If the unemployment is temporary—someone would be expecting to obtain a job if a job is available, or had a job lined up which he had not yet taken up—there would be a potential for employment, a potential for earning, which the partner would lose in

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the event of a death as a victim of a criminal injury. In that case the scheme would be compensating for potential loss of earnings from that person rather than for losing state benefit.

Lord Archer of Sandwell: I think that I follow that argument. We are close enough now to make it imperative that I seek the Committee's leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 13 to 15 not moved.]

The Earl of Courtown: I propose that the Committee stage be now adjourned and begin again at 8 p.m.

[The sitting was suspended from 6.59 to 8 p.m.]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 16:

Page 2, line 22, at end insert—
("( ) The person determining an award of compensation may increase the standard amount of compensation shown in respect of the relevant description of injury in the Tariff by a sum not exceeding 20% of the Tariff amount to reflect special factors relating to the applicant including but not limited to the applicant's—
(a) sex;
(b) occupation or intended occupation; and
(c) dominant limb, in the case of injury to an upper limb.").

The noble Lord said: In rising to move this amendment, I shall also speak to Amendment No. 17. These amendments refer, in what I believe to be a constructive way, to the issues raised by the noble Lord, Lord Carlisle, on an earlier amendment. He suggested the possibility of a band of compensation for each of the amounts specified in the tariff. Our suggestion is in my view more limited, since it makes it possible for the person determining the award—be it a scheme manager, claims officer or adjudicator—to increase the standard amount of compensation shown by a specified percentage to take account of differences of sex, occupation, intended occupation and of dominant limb. Amendment No. 17 proposes a wider range of discretion for differences of age.

The unfairness of the undifferentiated tariff has already been adequately expressed both in earlier debates today and at Second Reading. It is the case—and I do not believe that anybody can deny it—that the tariff as specified does not make an adequate distinction between individuals, each a victim of a crime with the same injury, who suffer in a totally different way owing to their circumstances.

The examples are numerous. A young child who loses an eye clearly suffers very much more over his or her lifetime than an elderly person. The disability lasts for many decades longer. Loss of fertility—one of the items in the tariff—is clearly enormously different for a young woman, or indeed a young man, than for somebody older. As I said at Second Reading, a facial scar is unimportant to an unattractive person like me but very important to a young woman.

We have discussed the issue of dominant and non-dominant limbs. I have searched the scheme and the tariff very carefully and I find no reference to people being left-handed or right-handed. When the Minister was kind enough to meet me at the end of last month I

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was assured that the distinction was provided for, as the tariff provided for the dominant limb. Even so, it is not stated. It mentions "left" and "right", and distinguishes between the two. However, I find it difficult to understand exactly how the preference for the dominant limb is achieved.

While making this point, perhaps I may correct an inadvertent error in the Hansard report of my Second Reading speech. What I said was that I was gauchiste, which is Left-wing, and gauché, which is left-handed. Hansard recorded it as "gauche". I may be gauche as well, but I am definitely gauché. I should be grateful if Hansard would put the acute accent on the final "e".

For all these reasons, which are well-known to the Committee and which represent real differences in the suffering caused to victims of crime, we suggest that some method of differentiating must be found. We propose providing for the possibility of an increase of the tariff by a sum not exceeding 20 per cent. for differences of sex, occupation or intended occupation: clearly those in manual occupations suffer more from certain kinds of physical injury than those in sedentary occupations, and from injury to the dominant limb in a case of injury to an upper limb; and in the case that I have already exemplified provision is made for differences in the age of the applicant.

In parenthesis, perhaps I may say that we had a little difficulty in trying to write these issues onto the face of the Bill. The scheme is rather badly drafted. It sometimes refers to the person involved as a "person", sometimes as an "applicant" and sometimes as a "victim". I hope that when any new scheme is drawn up, some rationality will be applied to it. I know that these elements of the scheme come from different places, but they could have been rationalised prior to be its being placed before your Lordships.

I do not think I need continue with the argument. I am not wedded to the particular solution that we have found. I am not wedded to 20 per cent. or 50 per cent. But I am wedded to the idea that any scheme which is to be just, and seen to be just, must reflect these differences. I await with interest the Minister's remarks on how that can be achieved. I beg to move.

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