WIGAN’S sufferers from deadly asbestos-related illnesses could receive up to £54,000 more in compensation after new rules were passed by MPs.
The government’s Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme will see compensation rise to match 100 per cent of average civil claims. Up until now, that figure stood at 80 per cent.
Last year it was revealed that Wigan had the highest amount of asbestos-related deaths in the region.
The most recent figures from Health and Safety Executive show that 16 Wiganers died from mesothelioma in 2011, which is more than any of the other nine Greater Manchester authorities,
Wigan Council’s insurers have paid out £295,000 since 2001 on six claims relating to exposure to asbestos fibres on local authority offices, schools and sites between the 1950s and 1980s. The particles can cause mesothelioma, a vicious form of cancer, which attacks the lining of organs and is always fatal.
Turner and Newall - the parent company of Turner Brothers Asbestos, in Hindley Green - was considered to be the root of several cases and a trust was established after it closed, paying out on numerous occasions to former employees or their surviving relatives.
Its most recent payout was in 2012, where a terminally-ill 61-year-old woman was awarded £70,000 damages despite never working there.
She lived nearby and her father was an employee who could come back with his clothing covered in fibres.
However, despite the news that sufferers will receive more compensation, this will only be for people who are diagnosed from now on.
Victims and families who received 80 per cent of the compensation since July 2014 will not receive the extra money.
Union GMB has today released a statement declaring its disappointment in that aspect.
John McClean, national health and safety officer said: “GMB welcomes today’s announcement from Lord Freud on the decision to increase Mesothelioma victims compensation from an average of 80 per cent to 100 per cent as this is in line with GMB policy.
“However, GMB is greatly disappointed that those victims and their families who received 80 per cent of the compensation since July 2014 will not be getting the missing 20 per cent.
“And those victims who from February 2010, when the original consultation began, will receive nothing from this scheme.
“The Government while announcing how successful the scheme has been, continues to ignore suffering victims and their families in a purely unjust and arbitrary manner and GMB will continue to campaign on those who have been excluded or only partially compensated, from the scheme.”