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Hepatitis C Infection (Winter Fuel Payments)

Volume 602: debated on Tuesday 17 November 2015

13. If he will discuss with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions provision of winter fuel payments to people infected with hepatitis C by NHS blood transfusions. (902125)

Those affected by the contaminated blood tragedy are entitled to receive Department for Work and Pensions winter fuel payments if they meet its eligibility criteria. For the benefit of the House, if not the hon. Gentleman, it is worth explaining that there are separate programmes of support. The bodies that put support in place for affected individuals also provide some winter payments. If somebody is eligible for both, receiving something from one body does not preclude them receiving a DWP winter fuel payment if they meet the criteria, but they are two different schemes.

With the UK Government dragging their feet on the £25 million transitional compensation payments for those in receipt of infected blood products, will they now make a firm commitment to supporting patients through this winter, and then get on with the business of getting a just and lasting settlement?

I have had conversations with my opposite numbers in Scotland about this issue and, as the hon. Gentleman knows, Shona Robison wrote to me about it. We are looking at her proposals in the context of wider scheme reform. I have also ensured that my officials are talking to the other devolved Administrations as we move forward to a better solution to this tragedy.