This morning, the Chair of the Inquiry, Sir Brian Langstaff made a statement ahead of hearings starting:.
“I have been reflecting on the evidence the Inquiry heard on Monday and Tuesday of this week, from Sir Robert Francis QC.
As part of his fulfilment of the task he had been set by Government – to give independent advice regarding the design of a workable and fair framework for compensation - he identified what he regards as a strong moral obligation on Government to give compensation irrespective of the conclusions of the Inquiry. He felt compelled by what he had heard to urge that significant sums should be paid as an interim measure. He told us that the sooner compensation gets into people’s hands, the more effective it is. And as we have always known in this Inquiry, time is not on their side.
As his evidence was explored, two things became clear. First, the interim payments he suggests could be made quickly through existing administrative routes. Second and by contrast, that if a compensation scheme such as he suggests were to be introduced by the Government following the Inquiry’s report, it could well take appreciable further time before the final sums due to each eligible person covered by the scheme would be determined.
In these circumstances it seems to me appropriate to consider whether I should exercise the power that I have to make recommendations, and exercise it now.
Fairness demands that I allow core participants – especially, on this point, Governmental and public bodies - the opportunity to make submissions to me about whether I should exercise my powers to make a recommendation that as soon as is practicable interim payments should be made and, if so, the scope of those interim payments.
The issues are well known to us and so I consider ten days to be sufficient time for submissions to be considered. Those submissions should address (a) whether I should make a recommendation about interim payments and (b) if so what the scope of the recommendation should be. Any submissions should be received by the Inquiry by close of business – let us say 5 p m - on Monday 25 July.”
RLRs and unrepresented core participants should send submissions to [email protected]