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Volume 570: debated on Monday 18 November 2013

In the short time I have been the Minister of State with responsibility for this matter, I have had the pleasure of meeting the all-party group and victim support group representatives to discuss the Mesothelioma Bill currently before Parliament.

I thank the Minister for bringing forward this much-needed Bill. Does he agree that thousands of working-class people have been killed through being negligently exposed to asbestos in the workplace and that their families have been denied financial security, while the insurance industry has got off with almost £1 billion in unpaid compensation payments? I urge him to reject the proposals from the House of Lords for the insurance industry to be responsible for 75% of compensations payments only, and to make them pay the full 100%. Let the vultures in the insurance industry pay.

I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on campaigning on behalf of his constituents and others. People have been suffering from this abhorrent disease for many years. The issue was discussed extensively in the House of Lords and will be discussed extensively in this place. Our discussions will not be quite as extensive, so that we can pass the Bill and the people who need it may receive compensation. Governments—I stress Governments—have turned their back on these people. We are not going to do that.