Infected blood compensation: letter to the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General

Letter from the Minister for Public Health and Women’s Health, Jenni Minto MSP, to Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, the Rt Hon John Glen MP, in relation to a number of issues relating to infected blood compensation.

From: Jenni Minto MSP
To: Rt Hon John Glen MP

Thank you for your letter of 21 May 2024 and for meeting me this morning, along with Welsh and Northern Irish colleagues.

In light of the announcement of a general election on 4 July, I welcome the reassurance you gave that the UK Government will prioritise the Victims and Prisoners Bill. However, given the uncertainty and concern the announcement has led to amongst the infected and affected, I would ask for absolute confirmation from you urgently that the Bill will be passed before the UK Parliament is dissolved next week. I am sure we would all agree it would be completely unacceptable for there to be any delay in providing the compensation in light of the Inquiry’s report this week. In addition, you have shown clear leadership on this issue and I hope that the focus on ensuring delivery of the scheme is prioritised won’t be affected by the general election.

In response to the separate points raised in your letter, I can confirm that, subject to getting an urgent letter from the Department of Health and Social Care to confirm details of the funding arrangements, the Scottish Government will work with Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme staff to ensure the second round of interim payments to infected SIBSS members can be made very quickly. As I have said previously, we will also support work by SIBSS to make £100,000 interim payments to estates of those who have sadly died and I would ask you to do whatever you can now to ensure work to prepare for those payments is not delayed by the general election.

I can also confirm that I am happy to continue discussions at Ministerial and official level about the future role of the Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme. As I noted to you this morning, many SIBSS beneficiaries are very attached to SIBSS and so I want any considerations about the future of SIBSS to involve the infected and affected. As you recognised, the Infected Blood Compensation Authority (IBCA) will need to do some work to build trust with the community and to help people understand fully how the scheme will work so I hope that Sir Robert Francis can properly take account of their views and help give reassurance that people would (if they opt for periodic payments rather than a single lump sum compensation award) still get regular payments over the long term. I also welcome the commitment that no one will be worse off, but it would be helpful if you can clarify how this will work in practice in relation to beneficiaries’ future monthly or quarterly payments.

Finally, as I raised this morning, while I welcome the confirmation that people with chronic Hepatitis B will be eligible for compensation, given the UK Government has said they will need to wait for the new compensation scheme to be up and running before they can get payments, given they are not currently getting any support payments, can you please ask that the IBCA seeks to prioritise processing of their applications as soon as the scheme is up and running.

Given the level of interest in this from the infected and affected, I will be publishing this letter for their awareness. I am copying this letter to Maria Caulfield MP, Robin Swann MLA and Eluned Morgan MS.

Yours sincerely,

Jenni Minto MSP

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