APPG, Public Inquiry
Written by Suzy Fisk, March 8, 2023
Yesterday, 7 March, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood had a meeting with the Cabinet Office in Parliament to discuss compensation and redress for people infected and affected by contaminated blood and blood products. The Haemophilia Society acts as the Secretariat for this APPG.
Jeremy Quin MP, the Paymaster General (above) provided an update on their work and listened to a wide range of campaigners and campaign groups and answered questioned on some of their specific concerns.
Detail on the current ongoing work was limited. The minister said that there were no lines for further compensation in the spring budget and that nothing would be delivered until after the final report from the Infected Blood Inquiry in the autumn. However, he stated that they would respond to the Infected Blood Inquiry’s second interim report, expected this month, but that it may be quick response with a more considered response to follow.
The Government have accepted moral responsibility for compensation and is preparing to respond to the second interim report from the inquiry. The focus of their work is on how compensation will be delivered and whether an arms-length body was appropriate. A small ministerial group had been set to provide “heft and impetus” to the work of officials. He was not able to provide any detail on how they will further consult and engage with people.
Concerns raised by campaigners
Many of those present were concerned about the lack of engagement with campaigners and representatives and the lack of any detail on plans for this. It is clear that a single meeting with campaigners is not sufficient and that the minster and officials need to meet further with small groups of campaigners to understand their needs.
Some were disappointed that the Government has not made provision for compensation payments in the budget, despite agreeing that it will respond swiftly to the Infected Blood Inquiry’s final report in the autumn. It is unclear why more detailed conversations have not taken place with the Treasury.
The lack of detail on what work is underway and what progress has been made was worrying to many present. While the Government are looking at options for the administration of the framework, no information was provided on how that administrator would function, there is no timeline for its establishment, and it is unclear to what extent if any the Government accept the recommendations of Sir Robert Francis’ report on payment levels or the process for applying and receiving compensation and redress.
The Government has not begun work on contacting people who will be eligible to apply for compensation who are not registered with the current support schemes.
The minster was not left in any doubt as to the strength of feeling among campaigners and all those infected and affected and we hope this is a basis for further engagement.