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Infected Blood: Support

Volume 721: debated on Thursday 27 October 2022

By the end of this week, all those infected and/or bereaved partners currently registered on UK infected blood support schemes will each receive an interim payment of £100,000. The Government remain committed to meeting in full the interim recommendations made by Sir Brian Langstaff. The payments build on the support already provided by the four United Kingdom schemes.

I welcome my right hon. Friend to his new position, and thank him for reaffirming that support. I am sure that all Members have constituents who have been deeply affected by the infected blood scandal. It is absolutely right for the Government to bring forward compensation payments. The concern is that the deadline is looming in just a few days. Can my right hon. Friend be absolutely sure that every single person affected across the country will receive the interim compensation payment by the end of October?

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. Like him, in a previous incarnation as a Minister in the Cabinet Office, I met with survivors. All of us, I think, who have met those survivors have been humbled by their courage and dignity. I can of course give my hon. Friend the assurance that he seeks. All four national Health Departments have confirmed that the payments will be made by the end of this week.

I thank the Minister for that very positive response. Some of my constituents, and indeed people across Northern Ireland, will welcome the £100,000, but other families have lost loved ones who were potential recipients of that money. Can the Minister assure us that those families will receive the money, and will do so at a suitable time? In some cases, they have been waiting for 12 to 15 years.

I understand and share the angst felt by those families at the time that this has taken. As the hon. Member will be aware, these are interim payments, and it is the start of a process. It would be wrong for me to prejudge the entire process, but I very much share and sympathise with his concerns, and I will ensure, as the responsible Minister, that those sentiments are represented.