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).
Asbestos victims’ groups have today welcomed proposals for a new law to remove asbestos from workplaces, public buildings and homes in Britain. The proposals, contained in a new report, “The asbestos crisis – Why Britain needs an eradication law”, are published today by the All-Party Group on Occupational Safety and Health.
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.
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 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.
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.
We would then travel to the town of Casale Monferrato near Turin where we were to meet victims of the environmental disaster which has resulted from the Eternit company’s operations and subsequent abandoning of their asbestos factory there in 1986.
In Casale, home to the largest of Eternit’s four plants in Italy, 1,800 people have died of asbestos-related diseases, including some 800 who never even worked for the company.
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.