Statement by TUV Leader Jim Allister:-
“There is a growing funding crisis in the innocent victims’ sector. The phasing out of PEACE III funding, with no gap provision made by Stormont, has coincided with severe cuts by OFMDFM in such funding as their Victim & Survivors Service provides. Even payments under the individual needs programme have been unilaterally ended. Victims who may had had a range of help, be it physiotherapy treatments or respite care, now find this funding has been terminated.
“I have, accordingly, written directly to the First Minister on the crisis which his department has created.
“It is, frankly, shameful that at a time when we’ve seen Stormont department’s spend on hospitality rise by 22% in two years, vital spending on innocent victims is being savagely cut.”
Note to Editors:-
Mr Allister’s letter to the First Minister is in the following terms:-
Dear First Minister,
I write to express my dismay at how some innocent victims have been left without support in consequence of the ending of funding.
Individuals who have chosen not to access support through organised victims groups are being particularly badly hit. Having applied under the individual needs programme, they are now being told they are no longer deemed eligible unless they are a carer or in receipt of DLA. Some isolated individuals took a lot of encouragement to even look for help through the individual needs programme, only now to have the rug pulled from under them.
Quite apart from the impact of cuts in the individual needs programme, the sector generally is seeing its funding stream traumatically impoverished, particularly as Peace III ends. With no gap funding and a cut in other support funding, many worthy organisations in the sector are in crisis.
The unilateral cutbacks on funding are impacting severely across the victims’ sector and need urgent reassessment.
Jim Allister MLA