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.