Financial support for people in Scotland affected by the contaminated blood scandal is to be strengthened with an extra £20 million over the next three years.

The Scottish Government made the announcement as it accepted the key financial recommendations of the group established to look into the financial arrangements.

Hundreds of people in Scotland, many of whom were haemophiliac patients, were infected with hepatitis C and HIV through contaminated blood and blood products by the NHS in the 1970s and 1980s.

Following the publication last March of the findings of the six-year Penrose inquiry into infected NHS blood, Scottish Health Secretary Shona Robison set up the independent Financial Review Group.

It recommended those infected with HIV, or who developed advanced Hepatitis C, should get £27,000 per year - the equivalent of the average Scottish salary - an increase from the offer of £15,000.

Ms Robison confirmed on Friday she has accepted in full the financial recommendations put forward by the group which involved patient and family representatives.

A new Scottish support and assistance grants scheme will be established to administer financial support, with funding for it increasing from £300,000 to £1 million per year.

Current support packages for those affected by infected blood are delivered through UK-wide schemes.

The recommendations also include increasing annual payments for people with both HIV and hepatitis C from £30,000 to £37,000.

When a recipient dies, their spouse or civil partner will continue to receive 75% of their annual payment.

Those infected with chronic hepatitis C will receive a £50,000 lump sum payment - previously £20,000.

Ms Robison said: "Infected blood is one of the most terrible chapters in the history of our NHS.

"Those affected have suffered dreadful impacts on their health, life expectancy and quality of life, including financial losses.

"It is quite right that they and their families are given adequate support to help them cope with consequences for which they are entirely blameless.

"I am pleased today to be able to accept the key financial recommendations in full. This will mean a substantial package of additional financial support, recognising the hardships many face."

Patrick McGuire, partner with Thompsons Solicitors and the lawyer representing the majority of victims, said it was "an extremely important day".

"There are still issues to be resolved surrounding the different categories of victims and that full compensation for those affected has yet to be delivered but we will continue to work with the Scottish Government on this," he said.

Bill Wright, of Haemophilia Scotland, said: "No scheme can truly make up for the loss of life, and health, caused by this disaster.

"The Cabinet Secretary has acknowledged that there is more to be done once these schemes move to Scotland. However, today, we have made historic progress."

Just under 3,000 people acquired the hepatitis C virus from either blood transfusions between 1970 and 1991 or from blood product therapy while 78 acquired HIV, according to the Penrose inquiry.

Philip Dolan, convener of the Scottish Infected Blood Forum (SIBF), said: "We welcome the Scottish Government's statement, which is a step forward in obtaining some justice for victims.

"SIBF and partner organisations will continue to lobby and argue for a full, fair and equal settlement for the needs of the majority, who seek to live out the remainder of their lives with financial stability and dignity."