Minister: Asbestos sufferers set for 'substantial payment'


Work and Pensions Minister Lord Freud has set out plans for a "substantial payment" to be paid to hundreds of sufferers from an asbestos-related disease, during second reading debate on the Mesothelioma Bill.

On 20 May 2013, Lord Freud said "around 300 people a year could receive an average payment of approximately £100,000".

Mesothelioma largely affects the lining of the lungs and can take decades to develop. It is estimated to kill about 2,300 UK residents each year, according to the Health and Safety Executive.

Labour spokesman Lord McKenzie of Luton offered strong support for the bill despite some "short-comings".

The bill aims to help people who suffer from Mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos.

Lord Freud said the first payment could be made in July 2014 under the Mesothelioma Bill, which enables people who were "negligently exposed" to asbestos but cannot trace the responsible employer or their insurer to get compensation.

Anyone diagnosed with the condition on or after 25 July 2012 will be entitled to make a claim. The bill will be funded by a levy on insurance companies.

Lord MacKenzie warned that the 2012 "cut-off" for claims was "too restrictive" and compensation set at around 70% of average damages awarded by the civil courts was "too low and unfair".

Lord Freud said getting to the figure of 70% was a "real juggling act", based on how to get the right level of compensation for the victims.

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