HC Deb 13 February 2002 vol 380 cc401-2W
Mr. Clapham

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what action he will take to help sufferers from mesothelioma who, as a result of the recent judgment of the Court of Appeal in the Fairchild case, are unable to obtain compensation from their former employers through the courts. [36527]

Mr. Byers

The compensation scheme administered by the Department under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers' Compensation) Act 1979 will be used to make payments to qualifying sufferers from mesothelioma who are affected by the judgment of the Court of Appeal in the Fairchild case.

This is a terrible disease and it would be wrong for employees, former employees and their families to be left without help as a result of this court judgment. As an interim measure, I am extending the compensation scheme my Department operates for sufferers of respiratory industrial diseases to cover qualifying employees. I am discussing with colleagues in government what further action might be taken in the longer term in response to the Fairchild judgment.