Crime compensation proposals attacked by employers’ groups

Employers’ groups have criticised Home Office proposals that companies should compensate employees who are the victims of crime during work hours.

In an attempt to reduce the £200m a year paid out by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICS), the government wants companies to use their compulsory employers’ liability insurance to pay compensation.

In the consultation paper Rebuilding Lives – Supporting Victims of Crime, Home Office minister Fiona Mactaggart proposed a major simplification of the compensation scheme. She admitted that financial support for victims of the most serious crimes was “currently insufficient and too slow”.

To improve payments to victims of serious crime, the Home Office proposed cutting payouts made in “cases where someone is injured whilst at work”, as making such payments could be a disincentive for employers to make their workplace safe.

But the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) have submitted critical responses to consultation on the proposals.

David Croucher, national crime spokesman at the FSB, told the Times: “It would be a terrible double blow for a small firm to be a victim of crime and then have to pay extra for that dubious privilege. Businesses shouldn’t be penalised by the actions of criminals.”

Nick Starling, director of general insurance at the ABI, said that under current policy terms, insurers would refuse to pay out unless the employer’s negligence had allowed the crime to occur. This would leave companies footing the compensation bill in the vast majority of cases, he said.

Consultation on the proposals closed yesterday. The Home Office has not yet set a date for the release of its response.

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