The Government should pay extra compensation to thousands of victims infected with HIV and hepatitis C in a blood contamination scandal, a public inquiry concluded yesterday.

The inquiry condemned “procrastination” by governments and scientific agencies that led to the scale of the “horrific human tragedy”.

Some 4,670 haemophiliacs who received blood transfusions in the 1970s and 1980s were infected with hepatitis C, of whom 1,243 were also infected with HIV. Nearly 2,000 have died as a result of exposure to the tainted blood, in what the medical expert Lord Winston called “the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS”.

A two-year inquiry found “lethargic” progress in reaching national self-sufficiency in blood products in England and Wales.