Government agrees scheme to pay relatives up to £100,000

Compensation
Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online

The families of BSE victims could be paid up to £100,000 each as part of an open-ended compensation scheme to be established by the Government.

The families of BSE victims could be paid up to £100,000 each as part of an open-ended compensation scheme to be established by the Government.

Ministers will next week begin discussions with the families of CJD sufferers and victims who have died, about how to compensate them from a new multi-million pound government fund.

Ministers are prepared to set up a trust which could provide lump sums of around £20,000 to the dependents of CJD victims, with an extra payment of up to £84,000 for families with children. The payments, expected to begin early in the new year, will not have a deadline or upper limit.

Ministers are prepared to make compensation available, in a worst case scenario, to the families of 134,000 people - the maximum number the Government estimates could contract the disease. Eighty four CJD sufferers have already died and another seven have been identified as currently suffering from the disease.

Nick Brown, the Minister of Agriculture, promised "to put these arrangements into place regardless of the eventual outcome (or) of the number of people that need to be cared for."

A special hardship fund, for CJD victims or their families in financial difficulties, will also be set up by the Government. Emergency payments, which could begin within weeks, could provide support of up to £650 a week to people who are in financial difficulty as a result of the BSE crisis.

The Government is planning a similar system of compensation for CJD victims as that set up by the previous government to help people with haemophilia who were infected with the Aids virus through blood transfusions. A trust is "the Government's preferred option" but ministers want to work with families to "identify the best way forward".

The Department of Health is also planning a new national fund to pay for improved diagnosis and care for vCJD sufferers, including help to convert the homes of those disabled by the disease.

Next week Alan Milburn, the Health Secretary, will put the first £1m into the special care fund, which will be coordinated through the national CJD Surveillance Unit in Edinburgh. The fund will pay for a national network of experts trained to recognise and assess the symptoms of CJD and provide expert care.

Comments