Press Release: 13 January 2016

Asbestos victims’ support groups expressed their disappointment at yesterday’s Government announcement to reduce funding for the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payments Scheme. The new levy will raise £23.2 million for 2015/16 and will be supplemented by nearly £8 million underspent from last year.

Graham Dring, Chair of the Asbestos Victims Support Groups’ Forum UK said:

“The Government has missed a golden opportunity to implement necessary improvements to this scheme. One of the reasons the fund was underspent last year was because of the decision to pay only 80% of average civil compensation to mesothelioma victims diagnosed before 10 February 2015.

The levy on insurers announced yesterday represents about 1.7% of the premiums they raise from Employer Liability insurance policies they sell, down from the 2.2% they paid last year. If the levy had been set at the 3% figure promised by the Government in 2014 all applicants could have been paid compensation in full from the start of the scheme. There would also be enough money left over to compensate victims of other asbestos diseases unable to trace a former employer or their insurer.

It is time the Government stopped prioritising the financial interests of insurers over justice for asbestos victims. They should set a levy at the rate the insurers have already said they can afford, compensate fully those applicants who only received 80% compensation and make arrangements to compensate all asbestos victims whose lives have been ruined by their employer’s negligence and Government failure to ban asbestos until decades after the dangers were known.”

If you or a family member have been affected by mesothelioma, please contact us on 0800 294 3065.