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McLaughlin welcomes new proposals on Compensation Asbestos Victims

14 March, 2007

Sinn Féin South Antrim MLA, Mitchel McLaughlin has welcomed proposals from the British Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, John Hutton to provide faster compensation to all people diagnosed with Mesothelioma.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"I welcome this announcement by British Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, John Hutton that these new proposals would provide up-front financial support (within six weeks) to people who were previously not eligible, including those who were:

• Exposed to asbestos from a relative (e.g. from their overalls);
• Exposed to asbestos environmentally (e.g. lived near a factory using asbestos);
• Self-employed
• Those who can't trace their exposure to asbestos.

"Currently only people who receive Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit are eligible for state compensation under the Pneumoconiosis (Workers' Compensation) Act 1979.

"The new proposals would break this occupational link and would mean that, as soon as legislation passes through the British Parliament, all those with Mesothelioma would be eligible for payment, irrespective of their employment status and provided that they have not already received compensation through personal injury claims or against an employer.

"I am glad that these payments could be available as early as next year. Mesothelioma is a very painful disease and for families watching a relative suffering from it is heartbreaking. The last thing they should have to worry about is a protracted and complicated system to try and get financial support." ENDS

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