After the Prime Minister announced an independent inquiry into infected blood, the Department of Health consulted on the form of that inquiry. The Cabinet Office updated the House on 3 November, stating that it would be a statutory inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005, and that the Cabinet Office would be the sponsoring Department. The NHS Business Services Authority started administering the new English infected blood payments support scheme on 1 November.
From April next year, those affected by contaminated blood, including Michael in my constituency of Weaver Vale, could face considerable cuts in their discretionary support as the whole matter is currently under review by the Business Services Authority. Will the Minister give a clear-cut guarantee that absolutely nobody will be left worse off as part of that review?
I can absolutely give the hon. Gentleman that assurance, and that will form part of my statement on the response to the consultation, which we announced earlier. Those discretionary payments will be maintained.
The Minister will be aware that the integrity of blood products is underpinned by a common European agreement on standards. Can she reassure the House that she has spoken to other Ministers across Europe to ensure that, whether or not there is a deal, those standards will be fully maintained subsequent to Brexit?
I can confirm that that is very much part of our current discussions. In truth, those common standards are shared across Europe in any case, and we will continue to abide by them.