At least £100,000 should be paid to all infected blood victims and bereaved partners across the UK, the chairman of the inquiry into the tragedy has said.

The compensation should be provided “without delay”, Sir Brian Langstaff wrote in a letter to Paymaster General Michael Ellis on Friday.

The chairman said he had made the recommendation in light of the inquiry hearing evidence of “profound physical and mental suffering” caused by the scandal.

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The inquiry was established to examine how thousands of patients in the UK were infected with HIV and hepatitis C through contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s.

About 2,400 people died in what has been labelled the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.

In the letter, which accompanies an interim report on compassionate payments, Sir Brian said: “Having considered the submissions and reflected on the evidence this inquiry has heard of profound physical and mental suffering across a wide range of backgrounds, from a diversity of places and in a variety of personal circumstances, I considered it right that I should make this report.”

There are 2,007 core participants in the inquiry who are infected or affected, but it is not known whether all of these people will be eligible for compensation.

Research is still ongoing to reach estimates for the total number of surviving infected blood victims.

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The Government does not have to accept Sir Brian’s proposal, but in 2021 Matt Hancock said it would “of course” pay compensation if the inquiry recommended it.

A Government spokesperson said it would consider the former High Court judge’s report with “the utmost urgency” and “respond as soon as possible”.

Des Collins, senior partner at Watford-based Collins Solicitors, who represents families affected by the scandal, said the report was a “welcome development” but compensation had been due for a long time and he has demanded that it is paid within 14 days.

He added: “We look forward to the day when all victims of this scandal are properly compensated for their suffering and for those whose decisions led to the ruining of countless innocent lives being held to account.

“We now await the government's response, and would like to thank the IBI chair, Sir Brian Langstaff, for recognising the importance of today's recommendations.”

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