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Asbestos payout decision to be made

Construction workers suffering from an asbestos-related illness could receive compensation if the Government reverses a landmark judgment preventing them from taking legal action.

The Ministry of Justice will announce whether it will reverse a 2007 Law Lords decision ruling that compensation should no longer be paid to people with pleural plaques.

The condition, caused by exposure to deadly asbestos fibres, is a scarring of the lungs and is linked with an increased risk of developing fatal cancers. The government held a consultation on the issue last summer after the decision sparked a campaign to overturn the controversial ruling.

Building workers’ union Ucatt said it believed that the Government planned to pay £5,000 to the 6,500 sufferers of pleural plaques whose cases are on hold.

The money will come from taxpayers` money as opposed to the insurance industry, said Ucatt general secretary Alan Ritchie, adding that he feared the victims of the condition will be “betrayed” by the Government. Ucatt said it believed the Government will announce that once money is paid, there will be no compensation to anyone who develops pleural plaques in future.