Test MP Alan Whitehead speaks out over government bill

Daily Echo: Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead

VICTIMS of asbestos exposure have been betrayed after the Government caved in to the insurance industry, a Southampton MP has protested.

Test MP Alan Whitehead, pictured, attacked weaknesses in the Mesothelioma Bill, warning it would fail to deliver promised payouts to many sufferers and their families.

The legislation is designed to compensate victims of mesothelioma who have been unable to trace the employer who exposed them to the deadly asbestos dust.

Ministers have vowed to “end an injustice that has left many tragic victims and their families high and dry”, with a £350m package to help 3,000 people.

But Labour is protesting that the Bill falls woefully short in three key areas: l Payouts will be only 75 per cent of the average compensation levels for asbestos, after a deal struck with insurance companies.

l Only those diagnosed after July 2012 will receive payouts – denying help to huge numbers of older cases dating back decades l Only victims of mesothelioma will be helped – not people dead, or dying, from other asbestos-related conditions.

Mr Whitehead said: “This Tory-led Government seems set on favouring insurance providers’ needs over those of claimants.

“It is disgraceful that, under this scheme, the level of compensation is set far lower than that attainable when a claimant can trace their insurer.

“The Bill also sets 2012 as the cut-off date for claimants. This could mean that Southampton residents that have died from this awful disease since 2012 will be denied justice.

“I also don’t see any moral reason why this Bill should be limited to mesothelioma – why shouldn’t sufferers of other asbestos-related diseases be able to get redress?”

Nearly 2,400 people, mostly men, die from mesothelioma every year – of which 300 do not have an insurer, or that insurer cannot be traced.

Only last week the Daily Echo revealed that Hampshire teacher Jane Potts had died aged 63 after inhaling asbestos dust while working in the classroom.

Southampton is a notorious ‘hotspot’ because asbestos was used as insulation in ships, exposing workers during fitting out and ship breaking.

A ‘standardised mortality ratio’ (SMR) is used to identify blackspots, where a figure of 100 would be the expected number of deaths, given the age of the population.

The figures are much higher in Southampton (282), Eastleigh (253), Gosport (240) and Fareham (208) – and even in Winchester (139), New Forest (133) and Test Valley (130).

Furthermore, at least 1,500 people die every year nationwide from other asbestos-linked conditions – a figure that could reach 7,500, with better diagnosis, it is argued.

Labour MPs will attempt to force changes to the legislation, as it goes through its various stages in the Commons.

But Mike Penning, the disabilities minister, warned against holding up a vital Bill, saying: “It can probably be amended, but it must not be delayed.”

Comments (9)

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7:19am Wed 4 Dec 13

skeptik says...

1898 HM Factories Inspectorate report: The evils of asbestos.......the effects have been found to be injurious.
Massachusetts Industrial Accident Board - the US Compensation Board forced companies to pay out.
Lists of BMJ reports from 1924 - the state knew and the state are the cause and effect. Manslaughter?
1898 HM Factories Inspectorate report: The evils of asbestos.......the effects have been found to be injurious. Massachusetts Industrial Accident Board - the US Compensation Board forced companies to pay out. Lists of BMJ reports from 1924 - the state knew and the state are the cause and effect. Manslaughter? skeptik

8:19am Wed 4 Dec 13

Dai Rear says...

- the state knew and the state are the cause and effect. Manslaughter? 1939-45 The State made men and women go to their deaths. Murder?
The "State" - people who pay their taxes to (just about) cover interest on the State's borrowing. In your case, Skeptik I guess you'd be happy to pay massive hikes in your home. car, buy to let etc insurance to cover it?
- the state knew and the state are the cause and effect. Manslaughter? 1939-45 The State made men and women go to their deaths. Murder? The "State" - people who pay their taxes to (just about) cover interest on the State's borrowing. In your case, Skeptik I guess you'd be happy to pay massive hikes in your home. car, buy to let etc insurance to cover it? Dai Rear

9:34am Wed 4 Dec 13

Linesman says...

Dai Rear wrote:
- the state knew and the state are the cause and effect. Manslaughter? 1939-45 The State made men and women go to their deaths. Murder?
The "State" - people who pay their taxes to (just about) cover interest on the State's borrowing. In your case, Skeptik I guess you'd be happy to pay massive hikes in your home. car, buy to let etc insurance to cover it?
By the same token, I assume that you would be happy for the victims, who worked with asbestos, ignorant of the damage that it could cause to their health, should not be compensated and the firms that employed them should keep the money that these people made for them?

Prefab houses were made of asbestos, and warships and submarines contained a lot of asbestos. The ships and submarines were built to the government's specifications as were the prefabs.

Maintenance of the passenger liners in Southampton involved asbestos and tons of the stuff must have been used when the refinery and associated factories were built.

If you got hit by a car that mounted the pavement and suffered injury, my betting is that you would be quick to sue and want compensation. These victims also deserve proper compensation.
[quote][p][bold]Dai Rear[/bold] wrote: - the state knew and the state are the cause and effect. Manslaughter? 1939-45 The State made men and women go to their deaths. Murder? The "State" - people who pay their taxes to (just about) cover interest on the State's borrowing. In your case, Skeptik I guess you'd be happy to pay massive hikes in your home. car, buy to let etc insurance to cover it?[/p][/quote]By the same token, I assume that you would be happy for the victims, who worked with asbestos, ignorant of the damage that it could cause to their health, should not be compensated and the firms that employed them should keep the money that these people made for them? Prefab houses were made of asbestos, and warships and submarines contained a lot of asbestos. The ships and submarines were built to the government's specifications as were the prefabs. Maintenance of the passenger liners in Southampton involved asbestos and tons of the stuff must have been used when the refinery and associated factories were built. If you got hit by a car that mounted the pavement and suffered injury, my betting is that you would be quick to sue and want compensation. These victims also deserve proper compensation. Linesman

10:14am Wed 4 Dec 13

skeptik says...

Dai Rear - the link between acts of abuse at work and the defence of the realm - JHC - methinks you are unique.
Dai Rear - the link between acts of abuse at work and the defence of the realm - JHC - methinks you are unique. skeptik

10:43am Wed 4 Dec 13

On the inside says...

The is a real issue in this area. I am glad we have an MP who stands up for his constituents.
The is a real issue in this area. I am glad we have an MP who stands up for his constituents. On the inside

11:10am Wed 4 Dec 13

southy says...

Where was Whitehead when Thatcher Government put a limit on the pay out to Asbestos illness suffers, he never said a thing back then
Where was Whitehead when Thatcher Government put a limit on the pay out to Asbestos illness suffers, he never said a thing back then southy

1:16pm Wed 4 Dec 13

Linesman says...

southy wrote:
Where was Whitehead when Thatcher Government put a limit on the pay out to Asbestos illness suffers, he never said a thing back then
He was in the opposition.

The Tories had a massive majority. His voice would have counted for precious little, and would not have rated a mention in The Echo at the time.
[quote][p][bold]southy[/bold] wrote: Where was Whitehead when Thatcher Government put a limit on the pay out to Asbestos illness suffers, he never said a thing back then[/p][/quote]He was in the opposition. The Tories had a massive majority. His voice would have counted for precious little, and would not have rated a mention in The Echo at the time. Linesman

1:19pm Wed 4 Dec 13

southy says...

Linesman wrote:
southy wrote:
Where was Whitehead when Thatcher Government put a limit on the pay out to Asbestos illness suffers, he never said a thing back then
He was in the opposition.

The Tories had a massive majority. His voice would have counted for precious little, and would not have rated a mention in The Echo at the time.
He was a Councilor at the time and he said nothing the only councilor that did speak out was Pat Bear rip.
[quote][p][bold]Linesman[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]southy[/bold] wrote: Where was Whitehead when Thatcher Government put a limit on the pay out to Asbestos illness suffers, he never said a thing back then[/p][/quote]He was in the opposition. The Tories had a massive majority. His voice would have counted for precious little, and would not have rated a mention in The Echo at the time.[/p][/quote]He was a Councilor at the time and he said nothing the only councilor that did speak out was Pat Bear rip. southy

5:49pm Wed 4 Dec 13

exforester says...

It's not just those who work with asbestos who are killed by the stuff - their wives who cleaned their clothes, and people like my brother in law who didn't work with asbestos, but was in an area where asbestos workers (all 'suited up' in dust covered protective clothing) thought it okay to go nip out for a coffee dressed like this. The management knew this was going on, but chose to do nothing. They management were, therefore, culpable.
It's not just those who work with asbestos who are killed by the stuff - their wives who cleaned their clothes, and people like my brother in law who didn't work with asbestos, but was in an area where asbestos workers (all 'suited up' in dust covered protective clothing) thought it okay to go nip out for a coffee dressed like this. The management knew this was going on, but chose to do nothing. They management were, therefore, culpable. exforester

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