UCATT condemns government after admission that victims in Scotland and Wales can receive compensation, while those in England and Wales cannot

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UCATT has accused the government of double standards after a senior MP admitted people living in Scotland and Northern Ireland can receive compensation for having a disease caused by exposure to asbestos, while those in England and Wales cannot.

Parliamentary Under Secretary for Justice Jonathan Djanogly went on to say the government was not going to do anything about it.

UCATT general secretary Steve Murphy said: “The government has washed its hands of pleural plaques victims. On the one hand they admit that it is unfair that all sufferers won’t receive compensation and in the next breath they reveal they intend to do nothing about it.

“Plaques victims have suffered irreparable scarring to their lungs due to prolonged exposure to asbestos. Employers knew the risks workers faced but didn’t care. The fact that pleural plaques sufferers in England and Wales are still denied compensation while those in Scotland and Northern Ireland can claim, has created a postcode lottery for asbestos victims.”

Jonathan Djanogly made his comment after Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn asked whether the government would restore compensation to pleural plaques victims following the decision by the Scottish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly to restore compensation.

He replied: “The government understands it could be seen as unfair for compensation to be available in one part of the UK but not in another.”

Compensation payments for pleural plaques victims were barred as a result of a case taken by the insurance industry to the Law Lords in 2007. Since that decision, firstly the Scottish Parliament which passed the Damages Act and more recently the Northern Ireland Assembly, have passed legislation to restore compensation for victims in their countries.

Steve Murphy said: “Asbestos victims are predominantly ordinary workers. This out- of-touch elitist government has no conception of the pain and suffering that they and their families experience.”


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