Infected Blood Inquiry

Cabinet Office – in the House of Commons at on 18 January 2024.

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Photo of Samantha Dixon Samantha Dixon Opposition Whip (Commons)

What progress his Department has made on implementing the interim recommendations of the infected blood inquiry.

Photo of John Glen John Glen The Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office

As I set out on 18 December, I am pleased with the progress that we have made in appointing an expert group to assist on technical detailed considerations of those recommendations. It was announced yesterday that the final report will be published on 20 May, and the Government are committed to updating Parliament on the next steps within 25 sitting days of publication.

Photo of Samantha Dixon Samantha Dixon Opposition Whip (Commons)

The publication of the final report into the infected blood scandal has yet again been delayed, causing dismay for hundreds of people, including some of my Chester constituents, who are still waiting for justice. In this matter, time is precious. The Government committed to introducing primary legislation early in the new year to enable the establishment of the compensation scheme. Given that the House has shown its majority support, will the Minister confirm that the Government will now get on with it?

Photo of John Glen John Glen The Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office

I take the will of the House very seriously. That vote was on 4 December as part of the Victims and Prisoners Bill, which will now be working through its next stage in the other place the week after next. I have been working with colleagues across Government to ensure that we are able to respond appropriately at that time.

Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley Father of the House of Commons

The House understands that it is the Minister’s Department that has to co-ordinate government, and that is not an easy thing to do. Does he understand that Sir Robert Francis and Sir Brian Langstaff have made it absolutely clear that the final report will say nothing more about compensation? It is not just the victims of the infected blood scandal who matter; so do the families of those who have already died—they are dying as well. May I say, on behalf of the all-party parliamentary group on haemophilia and contaminated blood—I am sure that Dame Diana Johnson would say the same—that 25 days after the report is published in May is too long to wait? People want certainty and need support.

Photo of John Glen John Glen The Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office

I thank my hon. Friend for his empathy with the complexity of delivering this. I recognise the urgency, of course. That is why, over the recess, I had several meetings with officials. We are moving forward with the appointment of the clinical, legal and care experts. However, I recognise that his focus and that of colleagues across the House is on the speed of delivery of payments. Obviously, we made those interim payments further to the first interim report recommendations in October 2022. I will continue to have meetings with colleagues to move this forward as quickly as I can.