First infected blood victims to receive compensation payments by end of year

Demonstrators hold placards reading message related to the NHS infected blood scandal
People have been campaigning for justice for people affected by the blood scandal for years -Credit:AFP via Getty Images

The first victims of the infected blood scandal will receive their final compensation payment before the end of the year.

Tory Cabinet Office minister John Glen said the UK Government's "expectation is that final payments will start before the end of the year".

He was speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon.

Glen said he recognised that “time is of the essence” as he announced that many will also benefit from further interim compensation payments of £210,000 within 90 days.

The minister added that friends and family members of those infected would also be eligible for compensation under the scheme.

Compensation will be exempt from income, capital gains and inheritance tax.

Some 30,000 victims who were given contaminated blood or blood products by the NHS between 1970 and 1991.

Yesterday Brian Langstaff published his report into the scandal, saying it could have been avoided had warnings been heeded and patient safety put first. He also criticised a “subtle, pervasive and chilling” cover-up.

Glen told the Commons: “Yesterday the Prime Minister spoke about the anguish that the infected blood scandal brought to those impacted by it. I want to reiterate his words and apologise again today, I am sorry.”

He added: “Those who have been infected or affected as a result of this scandal will receive compensation.

“To be crystal clear, if you have been directly or indirectly infected by NHS blood, blood products or tissue contaminated with HIV or hepatitis C, or have developed a chronic infection from blood contaminated with hepatitis B, you will be eligible to claim compensation under the scheme.

“And where an infected person has died, but would have been eligible under these criteria, compensation will be paid to their estate.

"And this will include where a person was infected with hepatitis B and died during the acute period of infection.”

SNP MP Chris Stephens questioned why victims of the Post Office Horizon scandal are receiving more in compensation than victims of the infected blood scandal.

He told the Commons: “Some people will raise eyebrows at the fact that the compensation, or the interim compensation, is less than those in the Post Office. So, can he give some explanation as to why the £210,000 figure has been brought about today?”

The Glasgow South West MP said there are two lessons to be learned from the scandal: “The first lesson is that members of this House, regardless of political persuasion, can get together to deliver justice. And the second lesson is that those, like for example in the infected blood community, the key lesson for the general public is never ever give up in fighting injustice.”

Glen said interim payments are not a “stalling tactic”.

He said: “He asked about the the amount of £210,000, you can see it’s an irregular amount because I was trying to get the maximum amount that could be universally paid to those who were infected and alive without any risk of paying the wrong amount, and that was the maximum that I was advised.”

To sign up to the Daily Record Politics newsletter, click here