§ 20. Mr. MUGGERIDGE
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to an inquest at Ilford last week on a young woman who had been employed eight years before at an asbestos factory at Barking, the verdict being death due to asbestosis accelerated by tuberculosis; and whether he will amend the scheme for asbestos factories made under the Silicosis (Asbestosis) Act, 1930, which provides a period shorter than eight years between the employment and the certification of asbestosis, 193 since it is now proved that once the lungs are affected the disease is incurable and, in the majority of cases, fatal?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Oliver Stanley)
The attention of my right hon. Friend has been called to this case. The scheme for the asbestos industry does not apply to persons who had ceased to be employed in the industry at the time it was made, and no compensation would, therefore, have been payable in this case, quite apart from the time limit provision to which the hon. Member refers in his question. As regards the question of the time limit, it has not been found practicable in any of the schemes that are in force under the Act to dispense with some provision of the kind, but the Department will discuss the point further with the industry and consider whether some modification can be introduced into the scheme.
§ Mr. MUGGERIDGE
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there have been six Inquests in the last two years due to asbestosis, and that at the present time there are 50 to 60 girls and young men employed in this factory attending the Victoria Park Hospital, all of them with traces of asbestosis; and is he aware that doctors now are of opinion that once you get asbestosis you get it for good? Are these facts known to the Home Office? The matter is of extreme importance.
§ Mr. STANLEY
The whole question of asbestosis has been very recently discussed in this House and an agreement was reached at the time as to a limit of three years. My right hon. Friend has stated that he is prepared to take the matter up again with the object of discussing modifications.
§ Mr. THORNE
Will the hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of making the order apply to everybody working about the factory?