Proposals for asbestos victims receives mixed reaction from Thompsons

Thompsons Solicitors has expressed disappointment at the decision not to restore compensation for people with pleural plaques in England & Wales

The government has confirmed it will not be overturning the 2007 House of Lords ruling on pleural plaques which ruled people with the illness should not be compensated.

Instead the government will make lump sum payments to those who had already begun a legal claim for pleural plaques at the time of the Law Lords’ ruling in October 2007. It is anticipated around 6,000 people will receive ex-gratia payments of £5,000 each. Others will receive nothing despite many being diagnosed with pleural plaques before and since the House of Lords changed the law on compensation.

However Thompsons welcomed a multi million pound package which will see increased state benefit payments for dependants of deceased asbestos victims and funding for research into asbestos related disease.

Today’s announcement also outlined plans to commit £3m funding towards a National Centre for Asbestos Related Disease.

It also highlighted plans to increase state funded lump sum payments to dependant family members and increase existing awards to mesothelioma sufferers by 1.5% from April 1, 2010.

The Government has also announced plans to look into the establishment of an Employers Liability Insurance Bureau (ELIB) as a fund of last resort to compensate injured workers where the employer has ceased trading and the insurer cannot be found.

Ian McFall, head of asbestos policy at Thompsons Solicitors said: “On behalf of our clients we are disappointed the Government has decided not to overturn the House of Lords judgment although we recognise that at least some people with pleural plaques will get something.

“The commitments to the long cherished ideals of a national centre for medical research and a positive move on ELIB are as welcome as they are overdue.

“It is essential that ELIB is a guaranteed insurance fund of last resort to protect all injured workers, not just those who have asbestos-related disease.”