Richard Angell, Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, has written to the Chair of the Infected Blood Inquiry asking him to call those who have been involved in the discussions around compensation in Government to give evidence to the Inquiry.
The letter is reprinted in full below.
Letter to Sir Brian Langstaff
Dear Sir Brian,
Firstly I would like to thank you and your team at the Inquiry for your comprehensive second Interim Report. Its direction and the actions you are recommending that the government take on compensation are clear.
It is a matter of regret that the government is yet to offer any real response to the report. Subsequent “off the record” press briefing have left me feeling concerned. But my concern is nothing compared to the anxiety and stress this is causing those infected and affected – I have heard this first hand.
Last week I attended The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood. As you would expect, there was a high level of frustration about the lack of progress on compensation and the very limited communication coming from the government around this. There was general agreement at the meeting that, if possible, there would be immense value in you calling those who have responsibility for delivering compensation to give evidence to the inquiry.
At the moment, Members of Parliament are having to try and force information out of the government on this, which is neither desirable nor helpful for the infected blood community having any faith in this process.
To try and maintain some level of confidence from the community, I would suggest that you ask for maximum disclosure in both oral and written evidence for any additional people you choose to call to give evidence, including any text or WhatsApp communication on this subject.
I would like to suggest that you consider calling the following people to give evidence:
- Those who have held the post of Paymaster General since 24 July 2019.
- Recall of the now Chancellor of the Exchequer and those who have held the post since 24 July 2019.
- Those who have held the post of Prime Minister since 24 July 2019.
- Sue Gray – until recently chaired the cross-departmental group at permanent secretary level on implementing the compensation framework.
- Brian Williams - Head of the Cabinet Office Inquiries Sponsor Team.
- The Second Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health and Social Care.
Transparency and the daylight of the Inquiry has been the best way to date of getting clarity and action from the government in relation to the contaminated blood issue. We hope this can be impactful again and get the work of compensation expedited.
Thank you for the incredibly important work you are doing.
Very best wishes,
Chief Executive, Terrence Higgins Trust