Support service for terror victims will close unless Boris Johnson provides promised funds, Labour warns | The Independent

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Boris Johnson told Commons in March his government would work to support service

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Boris Johnson’s delay in getting promised funding to a national support service for victims of terrorism – at risk of closing within weeks – has been described by Labour as “insulting”.

The prime minister told parliament in March that his government would do “everything we can” to ensure the service, which provides counselling and welfare support to terror victims across Britain, remains in place.

Labour has demanded Mr Johnson fulfil the pledge, attacking the months-long delay getting funding to the charity running the “vital” service.

Nick Taylor, its chief executive, told The Independent: “We’ve told the government they need to sort out funding immediately. It’s been radio silence for the past few months.”

He added: “Terrorism is a crime that requires specialist, niche support. Our service is unique – there’s nothing quite like it in Great Britain.”

Mr Taylor said the foundation was told the Ministry of Justice would stop providing its annual £150,000 grant in March “on the basis the Home Office would take over [the funding] after a hiatus”.

The charity’s chief executive added: “Our board has decided that we’ll have to announce the closure of the service from the end of September unless we can find funding.”

The foundation, based in Warrington, was set up following the deaths of 12-year-old Tim Parry and three-year-old Johnathan Ball in the IRA bombing of Warrington town centre in 1993.

It has been running the free national support service for victims of terrorism – including those affected by the Manchester Arena attack in 2017 – for the past two decades.

Tuesday marks what would have been Parry’s 40th birthday.

Labour MP Louise Haigh, the shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland, said: “In the week that would have been Tim’s 40th birthday, it is a real insult that the support service established in his memory is under threat because the prime minister simply will not keep his promises.”

Support worker Terry O’Hara, Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols, shadow secretary of state Louise Haigh and chief executive of the foundation Nick Taylor(PA)

She added: “In this week of all weeks, the prime minister must act and secure the future of the support service and the vital work it does.”

Ms Haigh, who visited the foundation’s peace centre earlier this month, added that the work being done to support victims of terror “has made an extraordinary difference to thousands of people”.

Andy Carter, the Conservative MP for Warrington South, raised the issue in the Commons during prime minister’s questions on 11 March. He asked: “Will the prime minister join with me in commending their work and in agreeing to ensure their funding continues?”

In his response, Mr Johnson pledged: “We will do everything we can to ensure the funding continues.”

The Independent has contacted the Home Office for comment.

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