Victims of infected blood scandal to learn details about compensation

Thousands of victims of the tainted blood scandal and their families will find out how ministers plan to compensate them for their suffering and loss of income after Rishi Sunak promised to pay “whatever it costs”.

Details of the long-delayed scheme, which is expected to cost more than £10 billion, will be set out by Cabinet Office minister John Glen on Tuesday.

The scale of the scandal, which saw 3,000 people die after 30,000 received contaminated blood products or transfusions from the 1970s to the early 1990s, was laid bare on Monday in a 2,527-page report by Sir Brian Langstaff. He criticized the government for “working at a slow pace” on compensation. The government has failed to set up a compensation scheme in time for the completion of Langstaff’s final report, as he recommended last year.

“It may be late, but it is not too late: now is the time, finally, for national recognition of this disaster, for adequate compensation and for justice for all those who have been so terribly wronged,” Langstaff said.

On Tuesday, Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said the nation was “shocked to its core by what has happened” and told LBC he was “absolutely confident we will do the right thing when it comes to compensation here. and it is absolutely essential that we do that.”

Stride said issues of crime were a matter for the police, but told BBC Radio 4 Today that all appropriate action should be taken “without delay”. He added: “I am confident that every single element will be properly investigated and ultimately addressed appropriately.”

He told Sky News: “I have no doubt that the police and others will be looking at this very carefully and whether, for example, there is suspected corporate manslaughter that needs to be filed. I have no doubt that the authorities will look at that very carefully… it will now be studied very carefully by many different parties.”

Victims of the scandal have called for the withdrawal of the knighthood of Lord Ken Clarke, who was criticized by the report for giving “false assurances” on the matter to the inquiry.

Stride said due process should be followed. ‘Obviously there are questions that I have no doubt Ken will address in due course, and others will have views on them, (but) his knighthood… is a matter for the Forbeeture Committee and others, not for the government to take action in this regard. special respect,” Stride said.

A separate report on compensation, published in 2022 by Sir Robert Francis, suggested that thousands of people should receive a minimum payment of £100,000 each. Francis recommended a tariff scheme to allocate different levels of compensation based on the severity of the diseases, with victims providing medical evidence to support their claims.

Des Collins, a lawyer representing more than 1,500 victims, said the plan would likely follow the recommendations in Francis’ report.

Sunak pledged to fully implement the plan. Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, he said: “We will pay comprehensive compensation to those infected and those affected by scandal, accepting the principles recommended by the inquiry that builds on the work of Sir Robert Francis.

“Whatever it costs to implement this plan, we will pay for it.”

skip the newsletter promotion

‘Day of shame for the British state’: Rishi Sunak apologizes to victims of tainted blood scandal – video

Collins said: “Everyone is stressing that this should not be a long and arduous process. It must be done as soon as reasonably possible.”

He urged the Government to avoid further delays caused by the kind of payment problems suffered by victims of the Windrush scandal. He said: “One reason Windrush has been such a disaster is because they tried to do it on the cheap.”

Collins called on the government to provide free legal aid to claimants. “Currently there is no obligation on the part of the government to provide any form of legal support to victims by submitting these claims to any body, which makes it virtually impossible to succeed unless they are very lucky and happen to complete the application. form well.”

Richard Warwick, 58, was infected with HIV and hepatitis C during experimental studies while a student at Treloar’s, a specialist school in Hampshire for haemophiliacs. He said: “Compensation will not bring back anyone’s health, nor will it bring back children who have been lost. But the government needs to tackle this financially and recognize the years and years of salaries, pensions and mortgages that have been lost.

“There was so much we missed while the government went about its business.”