EXCLUSIVE: Compensation DOUBLED following News of the World campaign
By Ian Kirby & Sara Nuwar
TRAGIC victims of the 7/7 London bombings are to have their compensation payments DOUBLED, the News of the World can reveal.
Home Secretary John Reid has promised to fork out the extra cash after the first anniversary of the suicide bomb horrors.
And immediately delighted relatives hailed the move as a thrilling victory for this newspaper's hard-fought campaign to win help for the suffering victims.
Last night Mr Reid told us he had ordered the extra payments after talks with families of those severely injured and traumatised in the blasts.
"I have decided to make a special payment recognising the special circumstances of the 7/7 attacks," he said.
The government will also SCRAP its £500,000 ceiling on compensation packages to ensure sufficient cash is available for medical treatment.
The one-off extra payments will be followed by an overhaul of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, designed to slash red tape and speed up its payouts.
Last year we disclosed that hundreds of crippled victims had been left dependent on charity because of CICA delays.
We launched our What About the Victims? campaign on the front page, calling for immediate action. It demanded: NO CEILING on compensation, SPEEDY assessment to ensure a victim's long-term security would be sorted within six months, and a MINISTER to look after their rights. Survivors and relatives of 7/7 victims delivered a 10,000-strong petition to Downing Street in October and the then Home Secretary Charles Clarke ordered a review.
It concluded that it would be unfair to give the victims special treatment. But Prime Minister Tony Blair later over-ruled this verdict. Now he has also agreed to our plea for a nationwide two-minute silence at midday to mark each July 7 anniversary.
So far the CICA has paid out £2.1million to those injured or who lost a relative in the horror.
Families of those who died in the bombings—at Aldgate East, Edgware Road and King's Cross tube stations and on the No27 bus in Tavistock Square—welcomed Mr Reid's announcement.
John Taylor, whose 24-year-old daughter Carrie was killed at Aldgate, said: "It's great news and about time. The News of the World fought a fantastic campaign." And Dania Gorodi, 48, whose sister Michelle Otto, 46, died in King's Cross, added: "I'm absolutely thrilled your campaign has paid off.
"It will make a huge difference to people's lives and your paper has been a tremendous support for the families."
John Falding, whose girlfriend Anat Rosenburg, 39, died at Tavistock Square, said: "I'm delighted. The survivors have had enough to cope with, without the hassle over money."