This was an appalling tragedy that simply should never have happened. The Infected Blood Inquiry was set up to make sure all those that have suffered so terribly can get the answers they have spent decades waiting for and lessons can be learned so that a tragedy of this scale can never happen again.
The first interim report has been published and I am glad that the Government has already accepted the recommendations to make interim compensation payments of £100,000 to those infected and bereaved partners as set out by inquiry chairman Sir Brian Langstaff.
The Government paid these interim payments on 28 October 2022. If you have not received any payments, but believe you are entitled to do so, please click the link below for information
I now look forward to the final publication of the report by Sir Brian Langstaff, due to be released in the autumn of 2023. Nonetheless, let me assure you that in the meantime, the Government is working in consideration of the study to ensure that they can act swiftly in response to the final recommendations relating to compensation. Sir Brian’s Second Interim Report has put forward a structure for the compensation scheme, so that it can be set up as quickly as possible. The Paymaster General has stated that they are examining the report in great detail and considering the complexities it sets out thoroughly when preparing its response. He said they "want to deliver resolution, and are working at pace across all relevant Departments to consider the recommendations as outlined in this latest report and to ensure that we are best placed to respond to the inquiry’s final report."
Those bereaved family members who are not currently eligible for these payments will understandably be disappointed that the inquiry has not yet recommended something similar for them. These payments can be claimed by those who have been infected and bereaved partners.
This is only the first step in addressing this historic wrong and there is still more work to do.
These interim payments recognised the urgent need of infected and affected people, but more work is being done to consider the broader eligibility recommendations made by Sir Robert Francis QC.
Following commitments in January 2020 to resolve the disparities in financial support available in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and support bereaved partners, Ministers have announced changes to bring the four separate schemes into broader parity. Ministers have agreed that any future changes to national schemes would be subject to consultation between the UK Government and devolved administrations.
It is crucial to push Ministers for updates, especially in respect of this long standing tragedy. Sir Brian’s second interim report will hopefully deal with some of the concerns raised by APPG in the meeting on 7 March by helping the Government to respond quickly, once the full report is published. The goal of the Government is not to abscond the moral responsibility to pay victims of this tragedy, but deal with the significant complexity in fully addressing the impact of the scandal.
I recognise this process is incredibly frustrating considering the wrongdoing that has occurred and the lack of clarity at this time. Nonetheless, I believe the most important aspect is once full recommendations are received to provide compensation as quickly as possible.
Those affected by this scandal have suffered terribly over many years and that heart-breaking and unimaginable pain has been compounded by the financial uncertainty many have faced. I hope that these interim payments will start the process of securing that certainty and I want to reassure you that the Government will continue to stand by all those impacted by this horrific tragedy.