Infected Blood Compensation Scheme Debate

Full Debate: Read Full Debate
Department: Cabinet Office

Infected Blood Compensation Scheme

Siobhan Baillie Excerpts
Tuesday 21st May 2024

(2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Watch Debate Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
John Glen Portrait John Glen
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

The right hon. Lady makes a sensible point. I, too, was struck by the reference to Professor Bloom and the role he played in different ways over the years. Doing justice to the report’s 2,500 pages and seven volumes, and coming up with a serious response, will take a bit of time. I recognise the Government’s collective determination to address this matter as quickly as possible in the right way, having listened to the will of this House. The first opportunity to do that will be a debate sometime after Whitsun, which I intend to open—someone from the Department of Health and Social Care will wind up—so that we can begin to outline, in policy terms, how these things can be properly addressed.

Siobhan Baillie Portrait Siobhan Baillie (Stroud) (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - -

I thank the Minister for the thoughtful and thorough statement, which is so clearly informed by his extensive discussions with the community. I have spoken to him many times about my constituent Sally-Anne and her family, and how this devastating scandal has affected them. I hope that much of what the Minister has said today about compensation will provide Sally-Anne and others with comfort, but we all know that with the best will in the world, and even with the most planning, there will be difficulties in implementing such a massive, complex compensation scheme.

When the Minister said that compensation would not impact means-tested benefits, I felt a sense of relief, but we also know that there will be difficulties when Departments and computer systems have to speak to each other. Can I push the Minister to confirm that the community’s voices will continue to be heard by the arm’s length body, and that we will be able to adapt and change the scheme where necessary to ensure that it works on the ground, because I know that he has worked so hard for that to happen?

John Glen Portrait John Glen
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

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.