Geoffrey Cox calls for simple payment scheme for people affected by the infected blood tragedy

21st January 2016

Geoffrey Cox welcomes moves to get justice for people who received contaminated blood products from the NHS and calls for the final payment scheme to be simple, comprehensive, predictable and consistent.

Mr Geoffrey Cox (Torridge and West Devon) (Con): I thank the Minister for the work she has been doing on this issue. I also thank her and her ministerial colleague my right hon. Friend the Minister for Community and Social Care for the impressive way this is being handled. We should never forget that this is a simple matter of justice, and it is time, after all the apologies, that those affected should feel we are doing justice to that injustice. I hope that my hon. Friend will agree with me that one of the important needs is that any scheme should be simple, comprehensive, predictable and consistent, and that it is absolutely essential that the bewildering variety of current provision is resolved into that single clear scheme. Will she give me the undertaking that, whatever emerges at the outcome of this process, that will be the Government’s abiding priority?

Jane Ellison: I certainly think I can give my hon. and learned Friend some comfort in that regard. The area on which there was the greatest consensus right across the infected blood community and this House is on precisely what he describes: the complexity of the schemes and the fact that they are mixture of regular payments and discretionary means-tested payments. Obviously we need to wait for the end of the consultation to see exactly what everyone’s views are, but we will not waste time. We will begin a scoping exercise on scheme reform while the consultation is under way in anticipation of finalising plans at the end of the consultation. I agree that we need a scheme that is straightforward, simple and sustainable, both giving regular support to those infected and allowing this Government and future Governments to be able to plan and sustain the support.

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