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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-23071: Annie Wells (Glasgow)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 9 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will bring payments under the Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme in line with those in England, and what the reasons are for its position on this matter.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 29 May 2019

The Scottish Government will keep payments in Scotland under review at this stage and plans to meet Ministers from the Department of Health and Social Care and the Welsh Government and officials from the Northern Irish administration to discuss what may be possible to achieve greater parity across the UK in the longer term.

While payments for some groups may appear to be higher for those on the English Infected Blood Support Scheme (EIBSS), in some areas SIBSS payments remain higher and so we would not wish to consider parity with the English scheme if that means that some SIBSS beneficiaries lose out financially. For example, those SIBSS beneficiaries with chronic hepatitis c have all received an additional £30,000 lump sum payment, with those with chronic hepatitis c and also HIV having received an additional £50,000 lump sum. Neither EIBSS beneficiaries nor those on the Welsh or Northern Irish schemes have received these payments. In addition, widows, widowers or partners of those who have died who are registered with EIBSS are only entitled to means tested payments if they are on a low income, whereas widows, widowers and partners registered with SIBSS receive higher levels of payments which are not means tested. They receive the full amount of annual payment their spouse or partner would have been receiving if they were alive for the first twelve months after their death and, from then on, 75% of what they would have been receiving.

Overall funding for infected blood support in Scotland remains proportionately higher than in England on a population basis and our support is based on recommendations agreed with Scottish stakeholders through both the Financial Review Group in 2015 and the Clinical Review on the impacts of chronic hepatitis c in 2018. Funding for the Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme (SIBSS) was also significantly increased in December 2018 in response to the recommendations made by the Clinical Review.