The Minister for Welfare – Lord Freud – has revealed details of a diffuse mesothelioma cancer compensation fund which will be established to assist those diagnosed with work-related mesothelioma cancer who are unable to trace their former employers.
The scheme enables victims of the asbestos-related disease, diagnosed with work-related diffuse mesothelioma cancer from 25th July 2012, who are unable to trace their former employers or their former employer´s insurers to claim against the fund.
The diffuse mesothelioma cancer compensation scheme will be funded by the insurance industry and is anticipated to pay up to 300 million pounds in compensation for diffuse mesothelioma cancer over the next ten years.
Speaking at the launch of the scheme, Lord Freud said “We have worked tirelessly together with the insurance industry to agree this package of measures on behalf of those who face this terrible disease. The new scheme will mean that, for the first time, sufferers of diffuse mesothelioma, who cannot trace either a liable employer or employers’ liability insurer, will have access to extra payments.”
Although welcomed as a step in the right direction, campaigners for mesothelioma sufferers and representatives of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) have criticised the scheme for not being sufficiently far-reaching.
They claim that it is not fair that those diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer prior to the 25th July will be excluded from claiming diffuse mesothelioma cancer compensation if their former employer is untraceable, as will victims of asbestosis, pleural plaques and asbestos-related lung disease.
The introduction of the fund to support former employees unable to claim diffuse mesothelioma cancer compensation will not affect the rights of former employees who have contracted the disease while working for companies still in existence such as BT.