Contaminated Blood Scandal: Interim Payments for Victims - Commons Urgent Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:53 pm on 20 July 2022.

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Photo of Baroness Smith of Basildon Baroness Smith of Basildon Shadow Leader of the House of Lords, Shadow Spokesperson (Northern Ireland), Shadow Spokesperson (Cabinet Office, Constitutional and Devolved issues) 3:53, 20 July 2022

My Lords, we are in the slightly strange position that the House has not heard the Minister’s response. I think it would be helpful if the House were to return to hearing the Answer to an Urgent Question repeated before we ask questions on it. I think Members of this House would agree that, had we heard the Answer, we would think it embarrassingly unacceptable.

I pay tribute to the Haemophilia Society for the work that it has undertaken and its support for those affected by contaminated blood. The scale of this is staggering: over 3,000 people have died, including over 400 in the five years since the public inquiry was called. The Government do not seem to be in any hurry to respond to the recommendations in the report that they received four months ago.

I want to press the Minister on just one issue. She will be aware of the advice and recommendations on compensation and interim payments. She will also understand the impact that delays in addressing this have had on the victims and their families. Many are dying while they are waiting for this to be resolved. The deadline for responses on the specific issue of interim payments is Friday, when Parliament is in recess. Can the Minister give an assurance that this will not be any excuse for delay? What work is being planned now to address this and the other recommendations in the original report? If necessary, will she write to noble Lords and others with a statement and an update during the recess?