We have received a number of recent representations on pleural plaques from Members of Parliament sent on behalf of their constituents.
The Government understand that it could be seen as unfair for compensation to be available in one part of the UK but not in another, but the civil legal systems in Scotland and Northern Ireland and that in England and Wales are separate and there will inevitably be differences in the law.
My constituent, Janet Jeffrey, lost her father in 2003 to pneumoconiosis after working at Shaw’s foundry in Middlesbrough. Can the Minister assure me that any compensation arrangements will include all those whose families are affected and will not be restricted only to miners?
I can say that in light of the medical evidence, the Government do not consider it appropriate to overturn the House of Lords’ judgment that the condition of pleural plaques is not compensable under the civil law. However, I would point out to my hon. Friend that the law does not prevent a person with pleural plaques who goes on to develop any recognised asbestos-related disease in the future from bringing a claim in relation to that disease.