7/7 victims have waited too long for compensation
PUBLISHED: 12:09 10 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:12 07 September 2010
THREE years ago, the biggest peacetime atrocity ever unleashed on the city of London arrived in the form of indiscriminate suicide bomb attacks on trains and buses during the morning rush hour. On that dreadful day 52 people were murdered and close to 1,0
THREE years ago, the biggest peacetime atrocity ever unleashed on the city of London arrived in the form of indiscriminate suicide bomb attacks on trains and buses during the morning rush hour.
On that dreadful day 52 people were murdered and close to 1,000 were physically injured. Many more people, including friends and relatives of loved ones who suffered, and those who witnessed and survived the awful carnage, still carry emotional and psychological scars, and will do for the rest of their lives.
Yet London's response to the bombing campaign, aimed at fracturing one of the world's most successful multi-cultural cities, has been nothing short of magnificent.
The people of this great city have refused to be intimidated or divided and while the threat of further attacks is ever-present, the security and intelligence services have thus far done everything that could reasonably be expected of them to prevent further carnage.
What is regrettable is that on top of all the other problems survivors are being forced to cope with on a day to day basis, many are still embroiled in lengthy battles for appropriate levels of compensation.
It is accepted that every case is different and that every claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority must be treated individually, since it is the taxpayers' money which is at stake.
The extent of injuries and the degrees of genuine financial loss must be accurately calculated person by person, but the first compensation payments were made within months of the bombings and we are now almost three years further down the line.
At the time of the bombings, the Home Secretary was Dr John Reid, who well knows from the time he spent as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how essential it is for maximum levels of help and support to be urgently put in place for victims of terrorism.
He acknowledged this himself in a Home Office report following the bombings when he said: ''In times of crisis, support must be readily available and easy to access for those who need it.''
Presumably this remains the government's position but regrettably, there are too many victims and victims' families who have had a very different experience. At this poignant time, the compensation issue should be pushed back to the very top of the government's agenda.