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Compensation boost for asbestos victims

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 09, 2014

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A HOST of asbestos victims in Burton and South Derbyshire who can’t trace a liable employer or an employers’ liability insurer will soon be able to apply for compensation packages worth an average of £123,000.

The Government has increased this from the initial £115,000 debated in the House of Commons in January after making savings in the administration costs of the scheme.

Around 3,500 victims of the aggressive cancer or their families can apply for compensation from next month and will receive a payment of around £123,000 from July this year, as part of a £380 million package.

Mesothelioma, which often takes 40 to 50 years to present symptoms after exposure to asbestos, has resulted in more than 300 people every year struggling to find a relevant party to sue for damages, because companies become insolvent or insurance records go missing.

Work and Pensions Minister Mike Penning said: “This will end years of injustice for mesothelioma victims and their families - who have had to endure this terrible disease with little hope of any compensation from the insurance industry.

“We have made it an absolute priority to bring in the scheme as soon as legislation will allow, so I am pleased to announce that victims will be able to apply for payments from next month.”

High profile victims in this area have included Steve Ward, of Repton, who died at 49 and former Mail journalist Andy Parker.

The Mesothelioma Act was passed in January and allowed for the creation of a new package of support – funded by insurance firms – to pay in excess of 800 eligible people in 2014 and 300 every year after that, until 2024.

Victims, or their dependents (where the sufferer has died), will receive substantially higher payments than the statutory schemes currently operated.

Derbyshire Asbestos Support Team co-ordinator Joanne Gordon said: “Deaths due to mesothelioma should never have happened.”

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