Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Learning the Lessons Of7/7

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Learning the Lessons Of7/7

Article excerpt

THE BOMB attacks of 7 July, 2005 struck the capital without warning and ripped apart the fabric of everyday working life. Today's government report on the lessons learned pays due attention to the brave response of the emergency services. They deserve our warmest thanks for rising to challenges most of us will never have to face.

However, it is right that the report is critical of lessdramatic but nonetheless important aspects of police and health-service handling of the crisis. If victims had been identified sooner, the delays endured by relatives would have been much shorter.

Likewise, support for the lightly injured and those traumatised by the events was seen as less of a priority than tending those severely hurt. With hindsight, it could so easily have been provided, and would have spared much pain.

Part of Britain's wider reaction to these terrible events should be generous and effective support for all those affected. That is an important element in demonstrating absolute resolve not to let the terrorists change our way of life. The proposed assistance centres and improved casualty bureau hotlines must be fully resourced, as the report promises.

Improvements to Tube and police radio systems remain a matter of urgency.

Compensation payments also need to be more generous than the often pitiful sums currently offered. On the anniversary of the bombings, almost a quarter of claimants had not received their full share of what were in any case often inadequate payments - only [pounds sterling]110, 000 for the loss of both legs, for example.

It is shameful that the delays by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority have continued despite the Prime Minister's assurances last October that the process would be speeded up. The onus is now on the Home Secretary, John Reid, to deliver the improvements he promises in today's report as soon as possible.

Ministers' choices HARRIET Harman, the Constitutional Affairs minister campaigning to become deputy leader of Labour under Gordon Brown, was, as a mother, entitled to do the best for her children as she saw it.

She sent one to a grammar school, another to the Roman Catholic Oratory in Fulham, and another to a Church of England school. …

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