Infected Blood Compensation Scheme Debate

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Department: Cabinet Office

Infected Blood Compensation Scheme

Rachael Maskell Excerpts
Tuesday 21st May 2024

(1 month, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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John Glen Portrait John Glen
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I thank my hon. Friend for her remarks and for her constructive point around how the arm’s length body needs to evolve and fit the communities’ expectations. I am absolutely committed to that. She mentioned her constituent, Sally-Anne. Every individual is a priority to me as the Minister, and we want to deliver this as efficiently as we possibly can. She talked about benefits disregards, and I have also mentioned tax disregards. The systems need to recognise what we are doing with these payments to individuals. We have tried to address everything we can think of to make this flow as quickly as possible, and I hope that that will be the case. My hon. Friend is welcome to speak to me again if there are other issues she wants to raise.

Rachael Maskell Portrait Rachael Maskell (York Central) (Lab/Co-op)
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We are indebted to Sir Brian Langstaff for the comprehensive work that he has undertaken. However, it leaves many questions about the transparency and accountability of Government—to this place and to Committees but also to the public. Can we ensure that those infected and affected are involved in co-producing the outcomes of the recommendations? Can we also ensure that the separate Departments are held to account, not least the Department of Health and Social Care, given that so many of the recommendations will fall on that Department, and that the Secretary of State for that Department is directly accountable, in this new spirit of transparency to this House and beyond?

John Glen Portrait John Glen
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Of course, many of these events happened over a very wide timespan going back 40 or 50 years, but the issue is what we can do going forward. The hon. Lady makes a reasonable point about involving the infected and affected communities in this process. One of the things that I have mentioned is the arm’s length body having sufficient distance from Government to give confidence to the community. We need to get that right, and we need to ensure that the appropriate governance is in place so that the representatives of those communities can have meaningful influence in how they engage, and on the wider issues that she mentioned.