Last updated: 10.03.14

New asbestos compensation packages for mesothelioma sufferers

Those who have developed the cancer mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos and who are not able to identify a liable employer or insurer will soon be able to apply for compensation packages typically worth £123,000.

Following a debate of the new proposals in the House of Commons this January, the average expected package has actually been increased in value from £115,000.

It is estimated that some 3,500 victims of the aggressive disease and their families will potentially benefit from the scheme, which will start paying out from July. In total, approximately £380 million has been put in place for compensation from asbestos-induced mesothelioma.

The cancer can take as long as 40 to 50 years to show symptoms following exposure to the incredibly hazardous material, which was previously used in numerous construction projects. In the UK, more than half a million properties - both domestic and commercial - are still thought to contain asbestos and as many as half of the 4,000 or so who die from exposure every year are tradespeople.

Approximately 300 sufferers every year struggle to find a liable party to sue for damages because of this long delay, as companies become insolvent and insurance records disappear.

Mike Penning, work and pensions minister, said: "This will end years of injustice for mesothelioma victims and their families - who have had to endure this terrible disease with little hope of any compensation from the insurance industry.

"We have made it an absolute priority to bring in the scheme as soon as legislation will allow, so I am pleased to announce that victims will be able to apply for payments from next month."

With the risk to tradespeople such as joiners, electricians and plumbers so high, asbestos training is a legal mandate for employers. With Virtual College, you can provide your staff with Asbestos Awareness training so that they understand the dangers of coming into contact with the substance.