Latest Public Sector News

06.01.15

Rotherham unsure where to find money to pay sex abuse victims

Rotherham’s child sex abuse victims are expected to be awarded up to £3.4m in compensation, but the council is unsure where it will find the money to pay them, describing the situation as “hugely complex”.

So far 34 women are suing Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and South Yorkshire Police, the latest coming forward just before Christmas, with their solicitor expecting even more to follow. The women are forecast to be in line for average pay-outs of £100,000 each after an independent report concluded in August that children were sexually exploited in the area from 1997 -2013, but that the council knew as far back as 2005 yet failed to act.

Council bosses aren’t sure where to find the money to pay the settlements and believe they may need to either borrow or use money from land and asset sales. However a council spokesperson said the impact on the budget would become clearer following discussions with the council’s insurers.

The spokesperson said: “This issue is hugely complex. The council is currently liaising with its insurers to ascertain the extent to which the council’s insurance policies can be used to meet liabilities arising from any legal claims that are brought.

“Once this has been clarified, any potential impact on the council’s budgets, i.e. the public purse, should become clearer.

“Any agreement to use a Capitalisation Direction to fund any impact on the council would require the approval of the Department of Communities and Local Government.”

(Image source: Lynne Cameron, PA Wire)

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