General election will not delay infected blood compensation

Parliament will aim to pass an important bill ahead of the general election to ensure victims of the infected blood scandal are compensated as soon as possible, the government says.

Commons leader Penny Mordaunt said there was a “clear desire” to get it done.

MPs will consider House of Lords amendments to the Victims and Prisoners Bill on Friday.

The government has already said first payments to victims will be made by the end of the year.

Labour has also said it is committed to paying compensation.

The sudden announcement of the election, and next week’s planned recess, leaves little time to get new laws passed.

Parliament will be dissolved next week after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called the general election for 4 July, meaning there is limited opportunity to get through any unfinished business before it shuts down in a process known as the “wash-up”.

Another bill to stop children who turn 15 this year, or younger, from ever legally being sold cigarettes will probably not be considered.

But the Victims and Prisoners Bill – which will legally establish a compensation body for victims of the infected blood scandal – should progress.

The infected blood scandal has been called the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.

More than 30,000 people were infected with HIV and hepatitis C from 1970 to 1991 by contaminated blood products and transfusions.

About 3,000 of them have since died – many haemophiliacs were given infected blood products as part of their treatment.

Victims and their families have long campaigned for justice.

The government has said compensation payments will depend on individual circumstances, but typical payouts for those infected with HIV, or for HIV plus hepatitis, would be in excess of £2m.

The total cost could eventually be in the region of £10bn.

The scheme will be administered by a new body called the Infected Blood Compensation Authority, which will be led initially by Sir Robert Francis.

A consultation is planned in the coming weeks to ask victims and their families for views on the scheme before its terms are set out in regulations.

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