UUP MLA and Executive Office Committee Vice-Chair, Doug Beattie MC, has demanded that the Executive Office and Northern Ireland Office urgently provide answers to Troubles victims over why the Victims’ Payment Scheme has now been delayed, just over a week out from the scheduled date it was due to begin accepting applications.
Doug Beattie MC MLA said:
“Victims of the Troubles have been very badly let down again. The Victims’ Payment Scheme has been a long running issue and those who have lobbied so hard for it thought they had finally got over the final hurdle. It is a total disgrace that just as we are on the cusp of the scheduled date for the Scheme to begin accepting applications, victims are now being told it won’t be going ahead because of a row over who will fund it.
“This scheme was supposed to go live on the 29 May. If I hadn’t asked the First and deputy First Ministers the question at the Executive Office Committee on Wednesday, just when were they planning to actually tell victims that it wasn’t going ahead as planned?
“I also have serious concerns that the infrastructure to administer the scheme has not even been put in place. If the financial issue were to be resolved tomorrow, they would not be in a position to push the button and go live.“The handling of this has been shocking. We need to urgently hear from The Executive Office and the Northern Ireland Office. Victims deserve answers.”