, , ,

Mass lobby wins support for compensation

Written by Jessica Bomford, February 28, 2024

A mass lobby in Parliament calling on the government to pay compensation now to people infected and affected by contaminated blood and blood products has attracted strong support from MPs representing all political parties.

The lobby, on 28 February, was organised by a number of campaign groups, including the Haemophilia Society, to draw attention to government inaction and delays on compensation.

To coincide with the protest, Dame Diana Johnson MP asked Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at Prime Minister’s Questions why, 11 months after the Infected Blood Inquiry recommended that full compensation should be paid, no action had been taken. Mr Sunak told her that was ‘acutely aware of the strength of feeling on this issue’ and said the government accepted the ‘moral case for compensation’. However, the government’s position that it will not respond to this issue until the inquiry’s final report is published in May has not changed.

Campaigners and people impacted by the contaminated blood scandal gathered outside Parliament for a photo call and media interviews before heading to Westminster Hall where many had arranged to meet their MP. The group was visited by a number of MPs who pledged their support and asked for more information about compensation and the need for government to accept responsibility for this issue. Many joined a final photo call on the steps of Westminster Hall, pictured above.

Sir Kier Starmer at mass lobby 28 February 2024

Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, came to Westminster Hall to meet campaigners. Asked if a future Labour government would pay compensation if the current government failed to do so, he replied ‘yes’, to applause.

Kate Burt, Chief Executive of the Haemophilia Society, said: ‘We are angry and frustrated that five decades after the contaminated blood scandal unfolded, the elderly, bereaved and seriously ill are still having to travel to Parliament to plead their case for compensation. This community has suffered enough, it is time for the government to take responsibility and pay compensation to everyone infected and affected by this devastating treatment disaster.’

We believe the government should immediately accept the recommendations of the Infected Blood Inquiry’s report on compensation and redress published in April 2023. An independent, judge-led arm’s length body should be set up now. This body should fully implement the recommendations on compensation, involve people infected and affected by contaminated blood products in its setup and work and have a fully independent appeals process. The government should commit to funding this compensation scheme in next week’s budget. 

In a separate development, the House of Lords has been discussing the issue of compensation this week as part of the Victims and Prisoners Bill. In December 2023, MPs passed an amendment which, if it becomes law, will force the government to set up a compensation scheme for people infected and affected by contaminated blood.

If you have any questions, contact us at [email protected].