Des Collins, Senior Partner at Collins Solicitors, representing more than 1,000 victims, their families and eight Campaign groups, commented:
“We acknowledge that the government has finally proposed increases to the long-running issue of support payments to some of the victims and their families affected – in England – by contaminated blood products.
However, the increase in the payments heralded today by the government is miniscule in real terms for those whose health has suffered so significantly, for so long. These payments provide a minimal level of support and I fear that the increase announced today will do little to help offset the challenges that many people are facing.
It also seems a missed opportunity to make the system simpler and fairer for applicants who have to date been virtually excluded from any ongoing support, particularly for bereaved spouses and partners who now ‘could be eligible’ via ongoing ‘means-tested discretionary top-up payments’.
Furthermore, they bring us no closer to a fair and final resolution. These payments should not seen as any form of compensation. The government has denied compensation to the victims since the scandal emerged and continues to maintain this position.
When the High Court has heard the Contaminated Blood Products Group Action (GLO), which is entirely separate to the Infected Blood Public Inquiry, it will be for the Court to decide whether compensation should be paid, which would be entirely separate to these payments.
We would, however, continue to encourage the Government to accept its legal liability for the scandal and pay compensation to the victims and families now, in order to spare them the torment of a lengthy legal battle as more victims die.”
• Des Collins, Senior Partner, Collins Solicitors, T) 01923 223 324, M) 07831 522 540 firstname.lastname@example.org:
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