£100,000 tax-free payment 'in days' for infected blood scandal victims and bereaved partners

Thousands of victims of the infected blood scandal will receive interim compensation payments of £100,000 by the end of October, the UK Government has confirmed.

Survivors and bereaved partners will receive letters this week confirming the money will be sent to them in the following 10 days, according to the Cabinet Office.

It follows a report in July by infected blood inquiry chairman Sir Brian Langstaff which ordered payments “without delay”.

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Patients who were infected with Hepatitis C or HIV in the 1970s and 80s – or if they have died, then their partners – will get the interim compensation payment next week.

Maree Todd, Scotland’s public health minister, welcomed the Cabinet Office announcement which came after a report published in July by infected blood inquiry chairman Sir Brian Langstaff said the payments should be made “without delay”.

“We recognise how important the issue of interim payments has been for Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme (SIBSS) members, and those in the other UK support schemes, who have suffered for so long,” Ms Todd said.

“The interim compensation payments will build on the support already provided by SIBSS to many of those affected by this tragedy.”

The payments will not be subject to tax or national insurance and will not affect any benefits.

Scottish campaigners gave damning evidence to the infected blood inquiry

It is estimated about 3,000 people in Scotland were infected with Hepatitis C through NHS blood or blood products in the 1970s through to 1991. Some were also infected with HIV in the early 1980s.

People across the UK and around the world also fell victim.

The total bill for the initial payments to victims is expected to reach around £400 million for the whole UK, and the government is set to respond to any further recommendations made by the inquiry when it concludes next year.

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Ms Todd added: “Infected beneficiaries and widows, widowers or long-term partners of an infected beneficiary who has died – will receive an interim payment of £100,000 on October 28 and should have received or will shortly receive a letter from SIBSS setting out details.”

Public Health Minister Maree Todd confirmed the payments will be received in ten days

The infected blood inquiry, which was announced by then-prime minister Theresa May in 2017 and began the following year, has taken evidence from more than 5,000 witnesses during hearings across all four nations of the UK.

It has featured harrowing evidence from patients and their families who described being kept in the dark about the risk of HIV infection among haemophiliac patients, having to keep their diagnoses private through fear of vilification at the time of the Aids crisis, and living with the physical effects of HIV.

Most of those involved had the blood-clotting disorder haemophilia and relied on regular injections of the US product Factor VIII to survive.

They were unaware they were receiving contaminated product from people who were paid to donate, including prisoners and drug addicts in the United States.

Patients were injected for years despite repeated warnings at the top of government and attempts at whistle-blowing.

Across the UK new cases of HIV and hepatitis continued to be diagnosed decades after the first contaminations, resulting in many early deaths.

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