The decision to only reward Mesothelioma sufferers with 70% of the normal level of compensation was once more defended in the House of Lords last week, as it was revealed it would cost £451 million in the first decade, if they were to reward the full 100% of damages.
This time Lord Freud answered questions on the Mesothelioma Bill and shockingly seem to justify the decision to only reward 70% of the compensation to sufferers with missing insurer details, on the basis of how much it will cost the insurers industry.
It is not only controversial because of the fact it is short-changing sufferers of the deadly asbestos related illness but it also only helps those who were diagnosed with the illness after the 25th July 2012, leaving thousands of sufferers and their families without hope of getting the money they so desperately need for treatment and to prepare their families for life without them.
Lord Freud, who is the parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), was responding to questions in the House of Lord’s last Tuesday on the issue, and he underlined that to change the scheme to offer sufferers 100% compensation would in fact cost the insurance industry £451 million in ten years.
He went on to say: “I know that everyone in this House would agree with the proposition that we want to get as much money as we possibly can to mesothelioma sufferers, particularly those who, through no fault of their own, have not been able to trace the insurer that should be paying them the employers’ liability compensation.
“The reality is that we cannot trace the insurer in roughly 10% of cases. We are trying to make sure that we trace as many as possible.
“Clearly there has been much debate on the exact level of compensation. In the end, this has been a very complicated and intricate deal to make sure that we can get good sums of money. We are getting an average of £87,000 a head to people who suffer from this terrible disease who have not been able to find any compensation whatsoever.”
The Mesothelioma Bill, which forms a levy to provide mesothelioma compensation to sufferers of the asbestos cancer, is funded by the insurance industry on the whole and this would once again seem to be a case of the government trying to keep the insurers on side.
With the profits that the insurance industry bring in. It is almost unthinkable that they cannot commit to paying back each sufferer the full amount of compensation they deserve, yet the government continue to give them exactly what they want, regardless of the claimants and their families, who are the real sufferers in this instance.
Lord Freud also called for further research to be taken out on the condition to allow people to understand the serious nature of the disease moving into the future.
1. Flickr; Policy Exchange; https://www.flickr.com/photos/policyexchange/8402768800