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Tainted blood scandal victims tell new Prime Minister: Give us compensation before it’s too late

Grief: Carol Grayson and late husband Peter Longstaff. Miss Grayson, from Jesmond in Newcastle, said even with housing benefit and employment and support allowance, she lives on just £19,000 a year

Victims of the contaminated blood scandal want Boris Johnson to bring in a compensation scheme before more people die.

Thousands of survivors and countless grieving families are left impoverished by grossly inadequate support payments, campaigners warn.

With a death every four days as a result of the scandal – which saw an estimated 7,500 infected in the 1970s and 1980s as a result of receiving infected blood on the NHS – calls are growing for a settlement before it is too late for many more people.

Carol Grayson, 59, whose husband Peter Longstaff died in 2005 with HIV and hepatitis after receiving contaminated blood, said: ‘We are living hand to mouth.’ 

Because the Government has never admitted legal liability, nobody has received compensation as a result of the scandal.

Victims whose lives have been destroyed by disease have been forced to apply cap in hand for discretionary support payments and meagre living allowances under a series of ‘support schemes’.

And most of the 3,000 relatives of those who have already died get nothing.

Victims of the contaminated blood scandal want Boris Johnson to bring in a compensation scheme before more people die. Thousands of survivors and countless grieving families are left impoverished by grossly inadequate support payments, campaigners warn

Victims of the contaminated blood scandal want Boris Johnson to bring in a compensation scheme before more people die. Thousands of survivors and countless grieving families are left impoverished by grossly inadequate support payments, campaigners warn

Lawyers for many of the victims last night wrote to the new Prime Minister requesting that, at the very least, he reform the support payment scheme.

Barrister Sam Stein QC and solicitor Ben Harrison, who represent many of those giving evidence to the ongoing Infected Blood Inquiry, said current support schemes are ‘inadequate and inconsistent’.

The lawyers wrote: ‘Many of these infected victims live in fear of how their families will survive financially once their infections claim their lives.

‘Equally, we have heard from the bereaved partners of those infected, many of whom gave up their careers for their partners. They are often left with no means of surviving other than through reliance on benefits and the small means-tested sums they receive.’

With a death every four days as a result of the scandal ¿ which saw an estimated 7,500 infected in the 1970s and 1980s as a result of receiving infected blood on the NHS ¿ calls are growing for a settlement before it is too late for many more people [File photo]

With a death every four days as a result of the scandal – which saw an estimated 7,500 infected in the 1970s and 1980s as a result of receiving infected blood on the NHS – calls are growing for a settlement before it is too late for many more people [File photo]

Theresa May recently doubled the support scheme in England from £46million to £75million, but campaigners say this is insufficient.

Miss Grayson, from Jesmond in Newcastle, said even with housing benefit and employment and support allowance, she lives on just £19,000 a year.

‘A lot of that I never see,’ she said. ‘My council tax, my housing benefit comes straight out. The Government could compensate us tomorrow – and they should.’

Stuart Mclean, 49, who lives near Sevenoaks, Kent, had to give up his £65,000-a-year job as a project manager when he fell ill with hepatitis C as a result of blood he received as a child. He now gets £28,000 in support. 

‘It has destroyed my life,’ he said. ‘I want compensation for what they did to me. I don’t want these silly monthly payments – I want justice.’

Under the scheme, surviving victims in England are entitled to £18,458 to £44,000 a year, depending on their condition.

Bereaved spouses or long-term partners can apply for an ‘income top-up’. But this is means-tested so those with a household income of more than £28,401 get nothing.

Diana Johnson, MP for Hull North, who has long campaigned over the scandal, said: ‘I wrote to Boris Johnson on June 21 asking for NHS infected blood victims not to have to wait until the current public inquiry concludes before any further action is taken on proper compensation. So far this letter has been ignored.’

The Department of Health said: ‘We have followed the Infected Blood Inquiry closely and have demonstrated we are listening by committing up to a further £30million to the support scheme in England.’ 

Barrister Sam Stein QC and solicitor Ben Harrison, who represent many of those giving evidence to the ongoing Infected Blood Inquiry, said current support schemes are ¿inadequate and inconsistent¿ [File photo]

Barrister Sam Stein QC and solicitor Ben Harrison, who represent many of those giving evidence to the ongoing Infected Blood Inquiry, said current support schemes are ‘inadequate and inconsistent’ [File photo]

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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