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Thalidomide Children

Volume 955: debated on Thursday 3 August 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is now able to make a statement about the outcome of Sir Alan Marre's inquiry into the Y list children.

Sir Alan Marre's report on the thalidomide Y list children is published today, a copy of the report has been placed in the Library.

The report recommends that some 20 young people out of the 75 on the Y list should receive the same compensation as those already recognised by Distillers Company Limited as thalidomide-damaged. In the other cases, it is recommended that Distillers should offer ex-gratia payments of £10,000 each, this sum to be divided equally between the young people and their families.

In consequence of the report, Distillers has agreed to increase the thalidomide trust fund, which is for the benefit of all thalidomide-damaged children, by some £3 million. The Government will contribute £800,000 to the fund to offset tax liabilities on payments to the new beneficiaries. This follows the precedent set in 1974, when this Government provided £5 million to offset the effects of taxation.

I am very grateful to Sir Alan for taking on such a formidable task and for completing it so quickly. At the same time, I am glad to be able to record the total acceptance by Distillers of his recommendations. I warmly congratulate my hon. Friend for the part that he personally has played in what I hope will be a very widely acceptable solution to this complex and unhappy problem.