York MP presses for faster compensation claims
12:00am 9th March 2012
In the House of Commons, York Central MP, Hugh Bayley pressed the Work and Pensions Minister, Chris Grayling, to agree to fast-track compensation for victims of mesothelioma, a virulent lung cancer triggered by exposure to asbestos.
Last week the death of Arnie Gomersall brought to 141 the number of people from York to die of mesothelioma as a result, in most cases, of exposure to deadly asbestos dust at the York Carriageworks.
Families of people suffering from this deadly disease can claim compensation from their former employer, but early payment of compensation is essential to make sure that those suffering from the illness and their families get the support they need promptly.
Mesothelioma victims can apply to the Royal Courts of Justice for early interim payments, which can make all the difference to them and their families.
There are also regional schemes in place but these are not as efficient or effective as the Royal Courts of Justice scheme, which means that this scheme is at risk of being overloaded and not being able to process claims as quickly as claimants need.
It is vital therefore that more is done to speed up the regional system. The longer it takes to pay compensation to victims and their families the more that has to be paid out in benefits.
Hugh Bayley's exchange with the Minister, Chris Grayling, is as follows:
Hugh Bayley (York Central) (Lab):
"People diagnosed with mesothelioma (141 former railway carriage builders in York have now died) can often claim compensation from their employer.
"The earlier they get compensation, the less they and their dependants need in benefits, so will the Secretary of State talk to the Secretary of State for Justice about fast-tracking these cases through the courts, as is currently done in the royal courts of justice in London, and making that a nationwide approach?"
"I am happy to have that conversation.
"We are also working hard with the insurance industry to make sure that we match employees who have suffered from the illness with employers who may have disappeared some years ago, to ensure that we find the employers liability insurance policies that can pay those employees the compensation that they so desperately need."
Hugh Bayley MP says:
"It is dreadful that the death toll in York from mesothelioma has now reached 141 and that cases of asbestos related diseases continue to be diagnosed among former employees of the York Carriageworks who are victims of the poor working practices that used to be in place.
"It is vital that financial security is provided promptly for those with the illness and their loved ones because they live on average less than a year after diagnosis.
"Naturally they want to know that adequate compensation will be paid to support their dependents. I am pleased the Minister has agreed to take this up with the Justice Secretary."
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