MPs demand immediate second round of payments for contaminated blood victims

Compensation must be given “immediately” to thousands of people whose loved ones died in the contaminated blood scandal, a former minister has warned.

Former defence, home office and justice minister Sir Mike Penning is urging the Government to make payments to people who still had no financial support after their children or parents died from blood infected with HIV or hepatitis in the 1970s and 1980s.

He said: “Innocent victims are suffering so much and it’s not their fault. I love the NHS but when it gets things wrong people need financial help to put their lives back together.”

The Hemel Hempstead MP has sponsored a Commons motion, also backed by SNP and DUP MPs, urging the Government to ­recognise “the extreme urgency and life-limiting situation facing individuals who received and were infected by infected blood.”

It comes as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt prepare to give evidence to the official inquiry into the scandal, chaired by senior judge Sir Brian Langstaff KC. Mr Sunak will be questioned on July 26 and Mr Hunt on July 28.

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An estimated 27,000 people were infected with hepatitis C as a result of transfusions with infected blood in the 1970s and 1980s.

Around 5,000 people with haemophilia and other bleeding disorders were infected with HIV and hepatitis viruses through the use of contaminated clotting factors.

Some went on to infect partners because they were not aware they had a virus. An inquiry was launched in 2017 but around 500 people affected by the scandal are estimated to have died since then.

The Government said last August that interim compensation payments of £100,000 would be made to infected people and to bereaved partners of those who died.

But campaigners point out this did not include bereaved families whose children died, or those whose parents died.

Sir Brian will publish a final report in the autumn but he has called for interim ­compensation payments to people who lost children or parents.

Ministers say they are “carefully considering” the recommendation.

A Government spokesperson said: “The Government accepts the moral case for compensation.”

Andy Evans, of the Tainted Blood campaign, said: “This is a long scandal and people have experienced it in many ways, including the loss of a child or of a parent. These people have never received any support. This will be the first recognition of their suffering.”

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