Campaigners want asbestos bill changed

CAMPAIGNING The Hampshire Asbestos Support and Awareness Group meeting at the Queens Hotel, Southsea. Picture: Paul Jacobs (131881-1)

CAMPAIGNING The Hampshire Asbestos Support and Awareness Group meeting at the Queens Hotel, Southsea. Picture: Paul Jacobs (131881-1)

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A CAMPAIGN group is demanding that a government bill is tightened up.

Members of Hampshire Asbestos Support and Awareness Group met at the Queen’s Hotel in Southsea to talk about the Mesothelioma Bill which is passing through parliament.

People who develop mesothelioma – an asbestos-related cancer of the lungs – can claim compensation, but only if they can trace their employers’ insurers. As mesothelioma can take decades to develop, these companies have often gone bust.

The bill aims to right this by allowing 70 per cent compensation to people who were diagnosed with the disease after July 25, 2012 who cannot trace the insurers of the companies they were working for when they contracted the disease.

But campaigners from Hasag say it should offer the same amount of money as those who can trace insurers.

Hasag co-founder Lynne Squibb said: ‘The bill can be much improved – it should provide 100 per cent payment.’

‘It seems to be a huge injustice that insurance companies have got away with not paying those suffering with mesothelioma.’

Portsmouth MP Mike Hancock also spoke about his personal experiences regarding asbestos

‘I have witnessed many of my friends who have suffered and died from asbestos-related poisoning,’ said Mr Hancock

‘I am bitterly disappointed that this struggle is still going on, I was hoping that by now this issue would have been put to bed by the government.’

The bill does not cover other asbestos-related diseases like asbestosis or family members who fell ill through contact with someone working with the substance.

Norma Smith, 70, from Cornfield, Fareham lost her husband to mesothelioma in May.

‘Compensation should be for everyone, if anyone is diagnosed they should all get the same compensation.’ said Norma.

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