A PAISLEY MP has welcomed news that thousands of asbestos victims are to get financial help after years of campaigning.
Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP Jim Sheridan said the creation of a fund for victims would help end an “injustice”.
It has been announced that people suffering from deadly cancer mesothelioma will receive help through a new multi-million pound support scheme.
Mesothelioma can hit the lungs and abdomen and many people exposed to asbestos – mainly in the building industry – have developed it.
Welfare Minister Lord Freud and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said 3,000 newly-diagnosed sufferers across the UK – who have been unable to claim compensation because they cannot trace a liable employer or employers’ liability insurer – will get around £300m in payments in the first 10 years.
Mr Sheridan – who is also chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Heath and Safety – said the fund is being set up after years of campaigning by victims’ groups.
He added: “In 2009, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Health and Safety began calling for the creation of an insurance bureau to compensate these victims in the same way that the Motor Insurance Bureau exists to compensate the victims of car accidents where one of the drivers involved is either uninsured, or the insurance can’t be traced.
“The announcement by the Department for Work and Pensions that a fund is to be created for mesothelioma victims will go part-way towards ending this injustice and I hope that it will be set up as soon as possible.
“However, both I and other members of the Health and Safety Group are keen for more details on how this scheme will operate to be made available so it can be determined how much the victims or their families will receive.
“The group’s membership is also disappointed that this fund will not cover all occupational diseases.”
The fund will take around two years to establish because it will have to go through the legislation process.
Once set up, it will pay out to people diagnosed with the disease who have failed to track down the firm that employed them when they were exposed to asbestos, or the company’s insurers.