Justice secretary announces £5,000 for asbestos-linked condition sufferers

Jack Straw has announced that the government will make a one off £5,000 payment to pleural plaque sufferers who had lodged compensation claims before the Law Lords ruling on the issue.

In a decision that will be a huge relief for insurance companies, the justice secretary announced this morning that the payments will apply to those who have begun, but not resolved legal claims for compensation for the symptomless asbestos-related condition before the Lords ruling in October 2007.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Justice said: “In recognition of the unique circumstances of those who had already begun, but not resolved, a legal claim for compensation before the Law Lords ruling, the government has decided to make one-off payments of £5,000 to people in that category. The scheme will apply in England and Wales.”

The Lords ruled that the existence of the plaques - small, localised areas of asbestos-related fibres found within the pleura of the lung – were not grounds for compensation.

The government will be publishing further details on arrangements for how the scheme will operate here shortly.

Two private members bills are currently being piloted through Parliament in a bid to overturn the Lords ruling.