Business Secretary Vince Cable backed down on Wednesday after strong protests from Jewish leaders, angry at his proposal to cut a compensation scheme for Holocaust survivors.

The senior Liberal Democrat leader reversed course after “strong views” were expressed, following his review of a 15-year scheme to compensate victims and their families who had property confiscated by the Nazis.

“Whilst it is a fact that the number of claims has fallen significantly in recent years, the closure of this scheme would be premature,” said Board of Deputies President Vivian Wineman. 

“It would be unjust if descendants of survivors were denied their right to claim due to a question of relative value for money for the taxpayer.”

While there were hundreds of claims made in the first few years of the scheme, there have only been 37 claims made in the past five years, prompting the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills to review its continued relevance.

But Cable said he had decided to rule out the closure of the scheme, which costs £65,000 per year to administer, after acknowledging “strong views expressed so far on this matter”.

A spokesman added: “The last thing we want to do is offend those who have suffered in the Holocaust.”