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Mesothelioma

Volume 448: debated on Tuesday 11 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidelines have been issued on awarding compensation to mesothelioma sufferers who have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace; and if he will make a statement. (78572)

[holding answer 19 June 2006]: The Department introduced regulations and procedures on 29 July 2002 that deem people suffering from mesothelioma to be 100 per cent. disabled from the outset. The change ensures that customers receive the maximum amount of IIDB from the earliest possible date. Procedures were also changed to remove the need for a separate examination on behalf of the Department where the disease has already been diagnosed.

These changes are in addition to the existing fast track arrangements for dealing with claims from customers suffering from other asbestos related diseases and ensure that they are dealt with maximum speed and minimum intervention from the Department.

They can also make a compensation claim under the Pneumoconiosis (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979 where there is no relevant employer to pursue.

In relation to civil claims for damages, the Judicial Studies Board publishes guidelines for the judiciary on the assessment of damages for pain and suffering in personal injury cases. These are based on decided cases and do not cover any damages that may be awarded for other elements of the claim, such as loss of earnings. The latest edition of the guidelines indicates that an award of between £45,000 and £70,000 is appropriate in mesothelioma cases.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the numbers of (a) women and (b) men who suffer from mesothelioma due to exposure to fibres brought home on the clothes of spouses, or other family members, exposed to asbestos at their workplace. (83751)

[holding answer 10 July 2006]: The information on which to base such an estimate is not available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether those who suffer from mesothelioma due to exposure to fibres brought home on the clothes of spouses, or other family members, exposed to asbestos at their workplace are eligible to make claims under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers’ Compensation) 1979 Act scheme; and if he will make a statement. (83756)

[holding answer 10 July 2006]: People who have contracted mesothelioma as a result of fibres brought home by others exposed at the workplace are not eligible for a payment under the Pneumoconiosis etc (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979.