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Pleural Plaques

Volume 503: debated on Thursday 14 January 2010

3. What recent discussions he has had with the Ministry of Justice on his Department’s potential financial responsibilities for people with pleural plaques. (310577)

I have had no recent discussions with the Ministry of Justice on this subject, but I understand that this is a long-running issue and that hon. Members are keen to see it brought to a conclusion.

I thank the Minister for that response. He must also be aware of the huge support for this matter across the House, as demonstrated by the fact that a private Member’s Bill on the subject was passed almost unanimously here and has gained support in the House of Lords. Also, an attempt by insurers in Scotland last week to prevent the Scottish law from being changed so that people could get compensation was decisively turned down. Surely some financial responsibility must be taken, at least for the people who worked for British Shipbuilders and other previously nationalised organisations. My right hon. Friend’s Department and the MOJ also have a moral responsibility to get together and sort this out.

As I said, I do understand that hon. Members are keen to reach a conclusion on this subject. I also understand that a meeting has been scheduled to take place shortly in which my hon. Friend and others will meet the Secretary of State for Justice and the Prime Minister. The Government are aware that we need to respond not only to this but to issues relating to other respiratory conditions.