Update on the Update: Through the written question and answer process, the UK government issued an October 21 acknowledgment here that it does not have a date in mind to announce a decision on pleural plaques, but the response will be made “as soon as possible.”
“Julia Goldsworthy (Falmouth & Camborne, Liberal Democrat)
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he expects to announce his decision on compensation for those with pleural plaques; and if he will make a statement.
Bridget Prentice (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Justice; Lewisham East, Labour)
The House of Lords decision has raised extremely complex and difficult issues which have required very careful consideration within Government. It has also been important to look beyond the issue of pleural plaques itself to consider how people who have been exposed to asbestos can be supported much more widely. We are actively considering all these issues in order to be in a position to publish a final response as soon as possible.”
The pleural plaques dance/debate continued yesterday in the UK House of Commons. The latest move is an apparently futile bill seeking to reinstate the ability to make claims for pleural plaques. Here is the link to a media story. The House of Commons comments should be online in a day or two. The Brown Administration still has not taken a firm position.
Here is the prior post that includes a paper I submitted to argue why it would be a grave mistake to reinstate plaques claiming.
“Asbestos-related illness decision may be overturned
7:59am Saturday 17th October 2009
VICTIMS of an asbestos-related illness were given fresh hope of compensation yesterday.
A Bill to overturn a Law Lords ruling denying payouts to sufferers from pleural plaques – a scarring of the lungs, that can trigger mesothelioma and lung cancer – cleared the Commons.
But ministers made it clear they stood ready to block the Damages (Asbestos-Related Conditions) Bill in the House of Lords, if necessary.
They have argued that only five per cent of pleural plaques sufferers develop asbestos-related diseases and that changing the law would open the floodgates to other compensation claims worth billions.
It is 15 months since the Government signalled it would not overturn the 2007 ruling, however, it has not confirmed the decision after Labour MPs reacted with outrage.
Yesterday, Justice Minister Bridget Prentice apologised to MPs after admitting a final decision was no closer, adding: “That is very frustrating for everyone concerned.”
As a result, ministers had little choice but to allow the backbench Bill to pass to the Lords. It was given a third reading by 51 votes to zero.
But the Bill has less than four weeks to clear the Lords and Ms Prentice admitted that ministers would step in to prevent it reaching the statute book if necessary.
Under the Government’s proposals, only the existing 6,500 pleural plaques sufferers would receive “no fault” payouts of up to £5,000, funded by the taxpayer, rather than insurance companies.
Future victims would receive no damages until a serious disease developed, by which time an employer or insurance company may have disappeared, making it harder to prove liability.”