It now appears that there will not now be an announcement from the UK Government on interim infected blood payments until next week. This follows several days of speculation that an announcement would be made today (Aug 12th) in response to the interim report from Infected Blood Inquiry Chair Sir Brian Langstaff set out on July 29th.
Media interest has been raised further during the course of this week, following a report by the Sunday Times and broadcasters had been given reason to believe they would be reporting today on a Government statement. That clearly is not now happening and has resulted in wide disappointment for all concerned.
Haemophilia Scotland Chair Bill Wright responded.
“Yet again expectations have been raised and dashed as has very often been the case during the course of the decades long infected blood scandal. We remain unclear at the full reasons behind the delay. However my own best guess is that the delay could be due to settling the arrangements to ensure the payments are not taxable or will result in the loss of benefits.
That assumption is based on previous experience when the revised support payments were made and a statutory instrument (ie a new minor law ) had to be passed to protect those payments. Clearly a statutory process is involved. It is worth noting in his interim report, the Inquiry Chair, in paragraph 36, acknowledges the importance of this but calls for action “as a matter of priority”.
On the basis of projections that an infected person continues to die every 4 days, that means if an announcement were to be made as early as next Monday, another four people could have died in the interim 16 days since Sir Brian set out his ruling. Any right minded Minister cannot ignore that in determining their priorities”.