Asbestos Compensation Rules Unfair, Says MP

7 February 2019, 07:48 | Updated: 7 February 2019, 08:03

John Woodcock Asbestos

The Furness MP says compensation rules for those who get deadly asbestos-related conditions need to change.

John Woodcock's highlighting the case of the late Jack Hordon, from Barrow.

The ex-shipyard worker died just before Christmas of lung cancer.

He couldn't get any money to help with the care of his disabled wife, because of poor legal advice he'd received on a previous claim for the less serious pleural plaques.

Mr Woodcock said: “Mr Hordon’s case is similar to many thousands of my constituents, people who served their families and their communities, they’ve provided for themselves and their families, but they did a service for the nation in Barrow’s shipyard. They built vessels that went to war, the submarine fleets which have kept our nation safe for many, many years. And because of sometimes a lack of knowledge, oftentimes a lack of care for their employees at the time they were exposed to this deadly killer that laid sometime for decades until it struck and took their life away in the most cruel and painful circumstances.”

“Mr Hordon was diagnosed in August 2017 as a sufferer of malignant mesothelioma. He had been a full-time carer for 20 years of his wife of 65 years. So the financial burden which that was placing and the uncertainty of course gave a real imperative to seek mesothelioma compensation. The initial contact with solicitors was positive. However, the solicitors soon came back with the discovery that Mr Hordon had previously made a claim for plural plaques, which it turned out he had signed on the strong advice of his solicitors at the time.

“Two issues arise from Mr Hordon’s tragic death. One is the injustice of him being denied the compensation which he needed every bit as much as anyone else who falls victim to this. And secondly, on the case of an enquiry into practices around plural plaques at the time and the prospect that there were effectively sharp practices going on by firms which wanted to seize the chance of cash without proper analysis of what the real risks were to people.

“Please will the government agree to examine the issue so that we can have a prospect of justice for people who find themselves in this situation?”

Work and pensions minister Sarah Newton said: “I am always happy to meet colleagues from across the House if they have particular constituency issues or if people who really need support are falling between the cracks. There are three different schemes available to support people, and we are talking about two of them today. I would be happy to meet the hon. Gentleman to explore those issues and to discuss the three compensation programmes to see whether there is more that we can do.

“We are absolutely committed to ensuring that people get the support to which they are entitled.”