London

Lambeth Council proposes £100m abuse compensation scheme

Former Shirley Oaks site
Image caption The former Shirley Oaks site in Croydon

A £100m compensation scheme for survivors of historical sex abuse at children's care homes in south London has been announced by Lambeth Council.

All residents of the council's former homes, including those who lived at Shirley Oaks, will be able to apply for the proposed redress scheme.

Leader Lib Peck said the council wanted "to address the issues from a very dark period of Lambeth's history".

But a survivor's group said the council should not run the scheme.

A report published last year by the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (SOAS) revealed physical and sexual abuse had taken place on an "industrial scale" at the home.

Lambeth Council said the proposed scheme "could reach in excess of £100m" and would "provide swift and compassionate redress, while ensuring compensation for survivors of abuse is not swallowed up by lawyers' fees".

It said anybody who lived in Lambeth's children's homes before their closure in the 1980s and 1990s could apply and legal support paid for by the council would be available.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Raymond Stevenson said any redress scheme should not be run by the council

Funding has been secured through a deal with the government that will allow the council to borrow the money, meaning that council tax will not have to be raised.

Ms Peck said the council was "set to deliver on our pledge to survivors of abuse who have been so very badly let down in the past".

But SOAS spokesperson Raymond Stevenson said people who had been abused did not trust the council and wanted any scheme to be run independently.

"We don't expect it to be done in a fair way... we're not arguing about money but natural justice," he said.

The scheme will be discussed at Lambeth Council's cabinet meeting on 18 December.

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