Sir Brian Langstaff, Chair of the Infected Blood Inquiry, today made a statement announcing that he is considering exercising his powers to make a recommendation that as soon as is practicable interim payments should be made to those affected by the infected blood scandal and, if so, the scope of those interim payments.
The statement follows the appearance at the Inquiry of Sir Robert Francis QC earlier this week, providing evidence regarding his independent study into the design of a workable and fair framework for compensation.
Sir Brian has invited core participants in the Infected Blood Inquiry to make submissions on the issue of interim payments, addressing (a) whether he should make a recommendation about interim payments and (b) if so what the scope of the recommendation should be. Any submissions should be received by the Inquiry by 5pm on Monday 25 July and be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sir Brian’s full statement was as follows:
“I have been reflecting on the evidence the Inquiry heard on Monday and Tuesday of this week, from Sir Robert Francis QC.
As part of his fulfilment of the task he had been set by Government – to give independent advice regarding the design of a workable and fair framework for compensation – he identified what he regards as a strong moral obligation on Government to give compensation irrespective of the conclusions of the Inquiry. He felt compelled by what he had heard to urge that significant sums should be paid as an interim measure. He told us that the sooner compensation gets into people’s hands, the more effective it is. And as we have always known in this Inquiry, time is not on their side.
As his evidence was explored, two things became clear. First, the interim payments he suggests could be made quickly through existing administrative routes. Second and by contrast, that if a compensation scheme such as he suggests were to be introduced by the Government following the Inquiry’s report, it could well take appreciable further time before the final sums due to each eligible person covered by the scheme would be determined.
In these circumstances it seems to me appropriate to consider whether I should exercise the power that I have to make recommendations, and exercise it now.
Fairness demands that I allow core participants – especially, on this point, Governmental and public bodies – the opportunity to make submissions to me about whether I should exercise my powers to make a recommendation that as soon as is practicable interim payments should be made and, if so, the scope of those interim payments.
The issues are well known to us and so I consider ten days to be sufficient time for submissions to be considered. Those submissions should address (a) whether I should make a recommendation about interim payments and (b) if so what the scope of the recommendation should be. Any submissions should be received by the Inquiry by close of business – let us say 5pm – on Monday 25 July.”
If we can be a source of information or support on any of the issues raised by the Infected Blood Inquiry, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us on our helpline, 020 7089 6221 or by email to email@example.com.