27 September 2000
Brown denies vCJD memo claim

By FWi staff

FARM minister Nick Brown has denied newspaper reports of a leaked memo suggesting the Government will try to block compensation to victims of the human form of BSE.

The results into a public inquiry into BSE are due in October and the Daily Mailthe claims ministers will try to avoid a 4 billion legal bill for victims of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).

It says a memo advises ministers not to admit that they or the previous, Conservative administration were to blame for the BSE crisis.

According to the Mail, the document says this would “risk incurring unforeseeable large expenditure … for which there would otherwise be no legal grounds.”

But speaking to the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today programme, Mr Brown denied this.

“No decisions have been made within government yet, we havent even received the inquiry report,” said Mr Brown.

He will receive a copy on 2 October and, once this has been analysed and placed in the public domain, there will be a response from the Government.

Several cases are already in front of the court, suspended until the inquiry report is published.

“I have to say, within the cases which are in front of the court, no decisions have been made within government,” insisted the minister.

Solicitor David Body, who is acting for 75 of the 83 known and suspected vCJD victims, told the Mail he was hopeful of a settlement without court action.

Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that the Government is considering more stringent controls on blood plasma used in surgical emergencies.

This follows concerns that humans could be infected with vCJD from plasma.