Northern Ireland news

British government urged to act fast on Troubles pensions

Victims Commissioner Judith Thompson urged Westminster pass legislation paving the way for a pension for people seriously injured during the Troubles. Picture by Liam McBurney/PA Wire

THE British government has been urged to let Westminster pass legislation that would pave the way for a pension for people seriously injured during the Troubles.

The call from Commissioner for Victims and Survivors Judith Thompson came as her office published its advice on implementing pension measures agreed in the 2014 Stormont House Agreement.

The money would be paid to those living with severe and permanent physical and psychological Troubles-related injuries which have left them unable to work or earn their own pension.

Eligibility would extend to those injured but not living in Northern Ireland, with the pension passed on to a spouse, dependent or carer for their lifetime.

Speaking ahead of an event at Stormont to mark the advice's publication, Ms Thompson said it was clear that in the absence of devolution, legislation needed to be passed in Westminster.

“While there are political sensitivities around eligibility for a pension this move has the support of all political parties in Stormont and in Westminster and I am clear that these recommendations are a fair and reasonable response to supporting the needs of those who suffered the most,” she said.

"There is now a moral obligation on government to ensure this modest pension arrangement is introduced as quickly as possible to allow those people who qualify to access it as quickly as possible – their suffering increases by the day and their time is running out."

The commissioner said her recommendations had been fully informed by advice from a host of relevant groups and individuals.

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