Mike Wood: Will the Minister support employers coming into prisons to offer training, so that offenders can be better placed to find a job when they leave prison and are more likely to stay out of prison?
Andrew Selous Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice
Let me start with amendments 5 and 6, tabled by the right hon. Member for Tottenham (Mr Lammy), which would either remove or raise the compensation cap. Although I fully understand his reasons for asking that the level of the cap be considered, I am unable to support either amendment. As I have stated at earlier stages in the legislative process, we simply cannot continue to have a situation in which the public purse is subject to unlimited liability.
I thank right hon. and hon. Members from all parts of the House who have participated in debates on Second Reading, in Committee and here today. In particular, I thank Ministers and shadow Ministers for their supportive and constructive approach. I thank the right hon. Member for Tottenham (Mr Lammy), who has spoken persuasively and passionately on behalf of his constituents, and my hon. Friend
Mike Wood: Neither police and crime commissioners nor local police forces are experts in processing claims, which is why it is important to allow those bodies to delegate the functions, particularly to loss adjusters. Provisions in clause 4(3) allow the Secretary of State to specify the persons to whom those functions may be delegated, which will hopefully achieve the objectives that the right hon. Member for Tottenham was trying to achieve through amendment 3.
Mike Wood: Members on both sides of the House will be pleased that the fixed charge will no longer apply from later this month, but does the Secretary of State agree that it is right that convicted criminals should contribute not only towards supporting victims, but towards the running costs of our criminal courts?
Michael Gove The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
Mike Wood: Will my hon. Friend clarify what safeguards will be in place to prevent abuse of these new powers?
William Wragg Conservative, Hazel Grove
The key safeguard is the fact that there must be a court order, with that judicial oversight. That should give assurance to all Members of this House that the appropriate safeguards are in place in the Bill.
Mike Wood: What assessment has been made of the impact of the two new specific offences introduced in 2012 of stalking and stalking involving fear of violence, adding protection for victims and also bringing perpetrators to justice?
Karen Bradley (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Mike Wood: It is a pleasure to be called to participate in my first Westminster Hall debate under your chairmanship, Mr Crausby. I join my right hon. and hon. Friends in congratulating Richard Burden on securing the debate on this extremely important topic. As the son of a west midlands police officer, who served for nearly 30 years in West Midlands police and before that in the Birmingham force, through the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and mid-’90s, this issue is important to me personally.