SICK and elderly survivors of historical abuse in children’s homes in Scotland are in line to receive initial payments over the coming months under a financial redress scheme being considered by ministers.

The proposals were submitted to Deputy First Minister John Swinney following repeated calls for awards to be made imminently to former residents amid concerns many may not live long enough to see a full compensation programme introduced.

Campaigners believe hundreds of victims have passed away since former First Minister Jack McConnell recognised the significance of the child abuse scandal when he issued an unprecedented apology in the Scottish Parliament in 2004.

Among those who have died were Frank Doherty, the founder of the leading victims’ group In Care Abuse Survivors (Incas).

Last night Alan Draper, parliamentary liaison officer for Incas, welcomed remarks made by Nicola Sturgeon on Thursday when she appeared to back the introduction of interim payments.

“The First Minister’s sympathy is wonderful, but we want concrete action. We need to see these payments being delivered and swiftly,” Draper told the Sunday National.

Swinney is currently considering the findings of an expert report which recommended the swift introduction of an advance payment scheme and also that the next of kin of survivors who have passed away should be eligible to apply for full compensation.

Draper said if the system followed models elsewhere, including in the Republic of Ireland, initial flat payments of around £10,000 per person could be made, before a survivor’s final compensation was established.

The expert report to Swinney said the final figure would depend on a range of factors, including the nature of the abuse and over what period it took place. It would also take account of the costs involved to former care home in receiving practical and emotional support as well as financial and legal advice. The report also recommended that survivors should be assisted to apply for the payments.

“The impact of the abuse care home residents experienced has been lifelong for very many people. Their whole lives have been blighted. Sadly suicide is common place among survivors who were abused as children in care,” Draper said.

“Many cannot sustain relationships and drug and alcohol problems are not uncommon.”

He added: “It is only fair that people are compensated for the abuse they suffered as children in residential care.”

A major public inquiry into the abuse of children in residential homes in Scotland is currently underway with investigators looking at cases stretching back many decades. Much of the evidence to the inquiry has been harrowing.

Last week Lady Smith, the inquiry’s chair, announced 17 more institutions would be investigated in addition to the 69 already at the centre of the inquiry. They include Donaldson’s School for the Deaf in Edinburgh and Lennox Castle Hospital in Glasgow.

It is believed that more than 20,000 victims could come forward by the end of the inquiry, and Police Scotland have warned the increase in its workload could put the single force under growing pressure.

Ministers set up the child abuse inquiry in 2014 to examine allegations of abuse from youngsters placed in children’s homes and foster care, as well as those cared for by faith-based organisations or in long-term hospital care and boarding schools.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, Sturgeon indicated she was “sympathetic” to an interim payment scheme being introduced imminently after being pressed on the issue by Labour MSP Johann Lamont.

The First Minister said: “The Government received the report on compensation for survivors just last week. As all members will understand, we are taking the time to consider the recommendations in that report carefully and sympathetically… The Deputy First Minister will come to Parliament in due course to set out the next steps. However, I absolutely associate myself and the Scottish Government with the sentiment of the question that Johann Lamont asked.”

The expert report on financial redress also recommended that legislation for a statutory financial compensation/redress scheme should be passed before the end of this parliamentary term in March 2021.

The report found most victims preferred a combination payment which involved a flat-rate standard payment along with an individual payment taking account of their particular experiences and suffering.