30 March 2016
Asbestos Victims Groups welcome £5 million pledged for a National Mesothelioma Centre but argue for full consultation and open tenders before funds allocated.
Funding for mesothelioma research has always been pitifully low and for years now the Forum has campaigned hard for better funding. Our groups have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for research through sponsorship of our Action Mesothelioma Day events and other fundraising activities.
So we are delighted that £5 million has been pledged by the Chancellor with the express aim of establishing a National Mesothelioma Centre to give a lead on developing research to find better treatment and a cure for this dreadful disease. This is a significant sum, at least compared to funding previously given for mesothelioma research.
Although this is a one-off grant it can be a springboard for the future if used wisely. We desperately need a national strategy for research which enhances collaboration amongst the leading researchers and builds on the cutting edge work already going on in the UK. We also need ongoing, sustainable funding earmarked specifically for mesothelioma research so that we can continue to develop new ideas and treatments, and also attract more researchers to the field, who may currently see this area of work as too risky given past funding difficulties.
At the moment it is unclear where and how this money will be allocated and that is a major concern. None of the leading mesothelioma researchers, research institutions or charities were consulted before the Budget announcement and were as surprised as anyone to hear the news.
During discussions at the annual All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Asbestos Seminar in the House of Commons on 22 March it was suggested that a decision had already been made by the relevant Minister to award this money to a consortium of institutions led by Imperial College, all based in London. If true, this is a shocking disregard for the existing experience and talent of mesothelioma researchers in the UK. Imperial College may have many fine qualities but they have published little, if any mesothelioma research.
There is no need to reinvent the wheel, we have some of the best research in the world already going on under our noses. A National Mesothelioma Centre does not have to be a ‘bricks and mortar’ centre. Why not a ‘virtual centre’, co-ordinating the research already happening in places like Leicester, Cambridge, Sheffield and Southampton?
The Forum has written to George Freeman MP, the responsible Minister, to urge full consultation and an open tender process before any decisions are made about the allocation of the £5 million, or the National Mesothelioma Centre. We need decisions that are made in the best interests of mesothelioma patients, and that requires open consultation with all the best people, not secret backroom deals.
We have an opportunity to drive the fight against mesothelioma forward and give victims some hope for the first time. That requires collaboration and openness not private negotiations. We should seize this opportunity with both hands, get all those currently leading on mesothelioma research around the table with politicians and civil servants and decide collectively the best way to spend the £5 million Budget award, what type of National Mesothelioma Centre we need and how we sustain progress in research for the future.
Click here to read the letter to George Freeman
15 February 2016
Asbestos victims will miss Lord Avebury, one of their staunchest champions, who died on the 13 February 2016.
Lord Avebury championed many causes during his long political career, including the campaign to protect workers from the dangers of asbestos, and to provide justice for asbestos victims and their families, which continues to this day.
In 1976, Lord Avebury was one of the first, and most influential supporters of the late Nancy Tait MBE, assisting her in the publication of her book, Asbestos Kills, and becoming a trustee of Nancy Tait's organisation, the Society for the Prevention of Asbestosis and industrial Diseases (SPAID).
More recently, Lord Avebury was one of the main proponents of exceptional treatment for asbestos victims in the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, and for improvements to the Mesothelioma Act 2014, which set up a scheme to pay compensation to mesothelioma sufferers who cannot trace employers' liability insurance. During the passage of both Acts Lord Avebury kept in close touch with the Forum and spoke eloquently and passionately in support of the Forum's demands.
Lord Avebury was a champion of Human Rights and a true friend of asbestos victims. He will be greatly missed in the ongoing campaign for justice for all asbestos victims.
25 January 2016
Living Well with Mesothelioma Patient and Carer Support Group
Cross Street Chapel. Cross Street. Manchester. M2 1NL.
1.30 to 3.30 pm
Meetings take place the first Monday of every month and give an opportunity for people with mesothelioma and their carers to meet, share experiences and socialise. We also have a speaker at each meeting – the list of speakers and subjects is below. Please check our Facebook page for updates and amendments.
Click here for more information
14 January 2016
Victims Groups disappointed at Mesothelioma Fund levy cut
Click here to read press release
16 October 2015
The asbestos crisis – why Britain needs an eradication law
Asbestos victims’ groups have today welcomed proposals for a new law to remove asbestos from workplaces, public buildings and homes in Britain.
Click to read more...
16 Sep 2015
Living Well With Mesothelioma
Patient & Carer Support Group
Together with Mesothelioma UK, we have set up a new support group for people with mesothelioma and those who care for them.
The group meets on the first Monday of every month, from 1.30pm to 3.30pm, at Cross Street Chapel (Manchester city centre, M2 1NL). For a map and directions, please click here.
The sessions will be an opportunity to meet others who understand what you are going through, and to learn more about mesothelioma and the help that is out there.
Some sessions will offer the chance to try complementary therapies, and to learn techniques to help you cope with the effects of mesothelioma.
Sessions are free of charge, and refreshments are provided.
The dates of the next six sessions will be:
- 5th October 2015
- 2nd November 2015
- 7th December 2015
- 4th January 2016
- 1st February 2016
- 7th March 2016
For more information, please contact us
27 July 2015
STOP PLAYING WITH CANCER!
Asbestos victims support groups, trade unions and UK campaigning bodies are urging local authorities, government agencies and market surveillance bodies to prioritize the threat posed by the possible asbestos contamination of UK imports.
An exposé in the United States earlier this month documented the presence of various types of asbestos fibres in crayons and toy fingerprinting kits imported from China.
Previously, Korean researchers identified asbestos contamination in baby powder from China and authorities in Italy, Spain and Ireland seized toxic thermos flasks also sourced from China. It is relevant to note that not only is China the world’s second biggest asbestos user, consuming over one million tonnes in 2013 and 2014, but China is also now the UK’s second largest import partner accounting for 7% of all UK imports in 2014.
How many of these imports contain asbestos?
Research undertaken last week revealed that products marketed by the toxic brands can be purchased online in the UK. Expressing the concerns of UK victims, John Flanagan from the Forum of Asbestos Victims’ Support Groups said:
“Thousands of people die every year because of past asbestos exposure at work and at home. Despite the UK asbestos ban, hazardous exposures to asbestos continue through lax enforcement of legislation and employer negligence.
If these crayons are being imported to the USA and Australia, it is possible they are also finding their way into the UK. The Government needs to assure people that these products are not being sold here and confirm the measures being taken to monitor imports from China and other countries to ensure that no products containing asbestos reach this country.”
Action Mesothelioma Day 2015
Over 200 people – mesothelioma sufferers, family members, trade unionists and campaigners – gathered in Lincoln Square in Manchester on Friday 3rd July to commemorate all those who have lost their lives to the asbestos cancer, mesothelioma. Just this week the latest Government figures showed there were 7 new cases of mesothelioma being diagnosed every day.
4 July 2015
Government gives way again over court costs in face of asbestos victims’ legal challenge
The Asbestos Victims Support Group’s Forum brought a judicial review challenge to the Government’s enhanced court costs which means that most mesothelioma sufferers will have to pay an average £7,500, and up to £10,000, to bring a claim for compensation.
Claimants can receive remission from paying court costs if they are on a low income and they do not have more than £16,000 in capital. Since most mesothelioma sufferers are paid approximately £16,000 in statutory compensation they would not be eligible for remission of court fees.
The Government have accepted that this was wrong and are amending the remission fee order so that statutory payments are not treated as capital. This change is effective from 3 July 2015.
The Forum says:
“Yet again, dying mesothelioma sufferers who have very limited financial resources have had to take court action to get justice. In this case they should never have had to launch legal action to stop the Government charging £10,000 in court costs to claim compensation for the criminal negligence of employers, often Government as employer, who continued to expose them to asbestos decades after it was known to cause cancer.”
23 April 2015
Charter for Justice launched
The Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK has issued a Charter for Justice for asbestos victims. The Charter sets out a small number of easily affordable reforms that would make a real difference to asbestos victims.
This country owes a debt of justice to asbestos victims and their families. We all have a duty to make sure victims receive the help they need. We all have an interest in making sure that asbestos is removed from the buildings we live and work in so that no one suffers in the future. This Charter sets out how we could achieve these aims. We hope everyone can support it. In particular we would like our politicians and policy makers to support it.
Please pledge your support for the Charter for Justice today, and make sure that any politician you vote for supports it too.
Click here to view the Charter
28 January 2015
UK victims of mesothelioma support Eternit victims in Italy
On 18 November 2014, a delegation of 13 Forum members travelled from the UK to Italy. Our itinerary would be to spend 2 days in Rome to witness the Italian Supreme Court's verdict on the Eternit trial - click to read more...
3 October 2014
High Court Halts Government Plans to Increase Asbestos Victims’ Legal Costs
In a stunning rebuke for the Government the High Court has today (2 October 2014) put a halt to Government plans that would have seen court damages paid to mesothelioma victims cut, a move designed to save money for the wealthy insurance companies liable to pay damages. The High Court, only two months after the damning report of the Parliamentary Justice Select Committee, found in favour of the Forum’s Judicial Review application to stop these changes being forced through.
To read the Forum’s press release click here