Ministers to answer to Infected Blood Inquiry after Scottish request for them to explain compensation delays.

Next week, Haemophilia Scotland, accompanied by a strong contingent of Scottish infected blood survivors, will journey to London to witness Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s response to the Government’s lack of action on compensation for infected and affected blood victims.

The Chair of the Inquiry, Sir Brian Langstaff, published a second interim report on the 5th of April which set out his full recommendations for compensation.  However, the Government have yet to respond to any of the recommendations made, which includes the creation of a full compensation scheme and an urgent interim compensation payment for bereaved parents, children and siblings.

Earlier in May, Haemophilia Scotland wrote to the Inquiry urging the Chair to take further measures to address the lack of government response on compensation.  This, along with similar requests from fellow campaign groups, led to the Inquiry taking the action we requested and calling up the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the former and current Paymaster Generals to next week’s hearings.   

A recent Parliamentary debate on the 22nd of June did not provide any additional information on the progress made by the Government and led to further frustration and concern for victims. 

Bill Wright, Co-Chair of Haemophilia Scotland said:

“We asked formally, via Thompsons solicitors, for the Inquiry to ask Ministers to explain themselves. We welcome the Inquiry taking this action and forcing the PM, Chancellor and other relevant senior figures to account for their lack of action and explanation to date. We now expect those leaders to take a more open and positive course, starting next week.”

“One of the most deeply offensive elements of the Governments position since the 5th of April has been the failure, until now, to set out openly their reasons in detail for not following the actions the Inquiry Chair recommends need taken, as a matter of urgency. Ministers, by leaving it to a senior civil servant to now set out those reasons have shown a degree of contempt for MPs in Parliament and those infected and affected and need to stop hiding behind the same cloak of secrecy that previous Governments have worn for decades”.

Lead Counsel to the Inquiry, Jenni Richards KC, today released the following statement in advance of the hearings:

The principal focus for the Inquiry in calling the witnesses in the week of 24th July is to consider, as part of its examination of the response of Government under its Terms of Reference, the adequacy and timeliness of the Government’s decision-making so far and to understand why the Government does not currently intend to respond substantively to the Compensation Framework Study/Second Interim Report until after the Inquiry’s final report is received.

Haemophilia Scotland will be in attendance throughout the week of hearings, which start at 10am on Monday 24th July.

For more information, please contact Alan Martin on 07309 779719 or Bill Wright on 07785 510456.

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