‘Only reasonable’ to delay compensation, says minister

Written by Jessica Bomford, November 23, 2023

The new Paymaster General, John Glen MP, has claimed it is ‘only reasonable’ that the government’s response to paying full compensation is ‘fully informed’ by the Infected Blood Inquiry’s final report next year.

Mr Glen rejected an urgent request from Clive Smith, Chair of the Haemophilia Society, Bill Wright, Chair of Haemophilia Scotland and Simon Hamilton, Chair of Haemophilia NI that the government reconsider its ‘untenable’ position of delaying a decision on compensation until March 2024.

Letter to the Prime Minister

The group wrote a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on 16 October asking him to honour the inquiry’s Second Interim Report which includes the recommendation that a compensation scheme should be set up now and begins its work this year. In July, inquiry chair, Sir Brian Langstaff reinforced this by asking Mr Sunak to provide reassurance ‘preferably by actions rather than words’ that just and fair compensation would be delivered ‘as soon as possible’.

Since then government policy has not changed. Mr Sunak did not respond to our letter, delegating it instead to Mr Glen, who took on his role as minister with responsibility for the Infected Blood Inquiry on 13 November. In his letter, Mr Glen said he ‘recognised the calls for urgency’ and but reiterated that the government would respond to the inquiry ‘as quickly as possible’ following its final report in March 2024. You can read Mr Glen’s letter here.

Response fails to address concerns

Responding to the letter, Clive said: ‘We are disappointed that we have not received an answer to our letter from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who has instead chosen to delegate our urgent questions to a minister who is only weeks into the job.

The new Paymaster General, John Glen MP, has replied to our letter using the same tired, reheated phrases which we’ve heard so often before. He has failed to address the specific points raised in our letter and offers no credible explanation about why the government cannot begin the payment of full compensation now. The government has also reneged on its promise to meet campaigners and keep them informed of any progress.’

Mental health impact

Clive added: ‘We need to remind the minister that the endless process of waiting for a meaningful response from government is a taking a devastating toll on our members’ physical and mental health. We urge him and Mr Sunak to honour the recommendations of the Infected Blood Inquiry and pay full compensation without further delay.’

The haemophilia society chairs wrote to Mr Sunak to reflect the growing concern from our members at the huge anxiety and stress that the government’s delay in responding to the inquiry’s report on compensation is causing.

World AIDS Day

To mark World AIDS Day on December 1 we will be holding a Dying for Justice event outside St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate church at 11.30. The event is open to anyone with a connection to someone infected with HIV through treatment for their bleeding disorder. We welcome people from all faiths or none. Read more here.

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