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Labour announces plan to support asbestos victims

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves has announced that the next Labour government will act to provide fresh assistance to victims of asbestos.

Speaking at a Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians conference, Ms Reeves said that if elected, Labour will: “be enshrining in a law a levy on the insurance industry, to secure a sustainable funding stream for improved compensation for victims and ongoing research into the disease and its treatment. To ensure there is no short-changing of those who have already paid far too much”.

UCATT general secretary Steve Murphy said: “Thousands of workers die every year from asbestos diseases. The insurance industry are happy to take the premiums but they never want to pay compensation. This levy would be a major step in providing justice for asbestos victims.”

This week, the danger of asbestos was once again highlighted by the Health and Safety Executive.

After analysing a number of wartime helmets and gas masks, HSE warned schools that the majority of wartime gas masks contain asbestos.

The researchers claim only a minority of artefacts were asbestos-free.

The HSE said schools have not been told to destroy all artefacts but to store them safely.

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