A new government fund to compensate some asbestos disease victims is much too limited, the TUC has said. The union body said the fund announced this week is limited to people who have the cancer mesothelioma but who until now have been unable to claim because their employer no longer exists and the responsible insurer cannot be traced. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: 'This new system will at least help provide some financial security to mesothelioma victims and the families of those who develop this devastating disease, but it falls well short of the scheme proposed by ministers a few years ago. Compensation should be available to all those who cannot get justice because, through no fault of their own, their insurer cannot be traced. While this scheme will come as a relief to those with mesothelioma, it will provide no help to workers who develop other cancers or life-threatening diseases, and who find themselves with no means of claiming compensation.' He added: 'We hope that the legislation to introduce this scheme can be passed as soon as possible and that, even at this late stage, ministers will consider widening its scope to make it fairer for all workers whose jobs have made them dangerously ill.' Steve Murphy, general secretary of construction union UCATT, said: 'The government has dressed up a watered down, inferior scheme as good news. The long delay in announcing this scheme means that hundreds of asbestos victims have died without receiving compensation.' He added: 'Yet again the government is assisting their friends in the insurance industry rather than acting in the best interests of asbestos victims. All asbestos victims have a right to compensation.' Mesothelioma kills over 2,300 people every year, but over 10 per cent of them currently receive no civil compensation because their employer's insurer cannot be traced. Other occupational cancers, which greatly outnumber mesotheliomas, are not covered by the scheme. Nor are the other life-shortening occupational diseases that affect thousands more each year.
Briefing document (400 words) issued 27 Jul 2012
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace/tuc-21277-f0.cfm
printed 19 May 2013 at 08:43 hrs by 126.96.36.199