MILLIONS of pounds to support hundreds of potential sexual exploitation victims in the county was announced yesterday as Prime Minister David Cameron called for concerted action to tackle the problem.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan announced the £7m fund in the wake of the review into the Bullfinch scandal.

She said it would help the potential victims identified over 16 years.

Speaking in the House of Commons she said: “I think it’s important that we think about all of the victims and their families and I am pleased to announce... a £7m fund in order to support those who have been victims, but clearly there is much more that we will all need to be doing.”

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It came after Mr Cameron, the Witney MP, said children in Britain had suffered sexual abuse on an “industrial scale” while authorities failed to act.

He called a Downing Street summit to address the problem following the child sexual exploitation scandals in Oxford and Rotherham.

Mr Cameron said too many people and organisations had been “walking on by”.

He added: “What I’m determined to do as Prime Minister is that we end the ‘walk on by’ culture that too many police forces and social work departments have demonstrated.”

Addressing the meeting he said: “The aim of today is to take the first step to make sure we deal with this far, far better, to stop it happening again in other areas.

“I think it’s very important we take a step back and recognise the horrific nature of what has happened in our country.

“Young girls, and they are young girls, being abused over and over again on an industrial scale, being raped, being passed from one bunch of perpetrators to another bunch of perpetrators.”

He announced that senior public officials and councillors who fail to protect children from sexual exploitation could face up to five years in jail under a new criminal offence being considered by the Government. Under the proposals the crime of “wilful neglect” would be extended to cover children’s social care and education, with unlimited fines for individuals and organisations shown to have let children down. And senior staff who leave councils after abuse scandals could see their pay-offs clawed back.

Meanwhile, three Government ministers said in a letter to Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board chairwoman Maggie Blyth that the “depth of failure” by Oxfordshire authorities was “hard to fathom”.

Under Secretary of State for Children and Families Edward Timpson, Crime and Prevention Minister Lynne Featherstone and Dr Dan Poulter, Under Secretary for Health, said they “did not accept explanations that child sexual exploitation (CSE) was not widely recognised at the time”.