Victim aid cut challenged

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LEGAL ACTION to block a government scheme which will cut the annual bill for compensation awards to the victims of violent crime by pounds 50m was launched in the High Court yesterday.

The court was told that Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, had acted in a 'constitutionally outrageous way' by attempting to introduce a system that will sharply cut payments to victims.

The criminal injuries compensation scheme, where awards are assessed individually by a board, will be replaced by 20 set tariff bands ranging from pounds 1 to pounds 250,000. The hearing continues.