Moves to delete Companies House records will impede compensation claims from asbestos victims

The Guardian recently reported that Companies House was planning to delete millions of records it holds on dissolved companies. The proposals are to delete records older than 6 years old. There seems to be no pressing need for this, other than administrative convenience, but the consequences for asbestos victims seeking to pursue claims for compensation could be devastating.

Asbestos diseases develop many years after the asbestos exposure that caused them. For example, the average latency period before mesothelioma develops is about 35 years. In the intervening period, the employer who caused the asbestos exposure may have gone out of business. Furthermore, the person who develops the disease may not remember the name of their employer, or know whether the original employer changed its name or was a subsidiary of another company.

Kathleen Ruff honoured by Quebec’s National Assembly

One of Canada’s best known anti-asbestos campaigners has been awarded the prestigious Medal of Honour by Quebec’s National Assembly in recognition of her tireless work campaigning against Canada’s deadly asbestos trade, and her pivotal role in bringing this trade to a halt.

Kathleen Ruff is well known to Forum members but her achievements deserve wider recognition. This award would have been unthinkable until fairly recently. Quebec was the heart of Canada’s asbestos industry, and Canada was one of the world’s leading asbestos producing and exporting countries. To defeat the asbestos industry in Canada the fight would have to be taken to the heart of the beast and Kathleen did this with relentless determination. She managed to pull together an effective coalition of doctors and scientists who were prepared to stand up and say publically that chrysotile kills. She worked closely with asbestos victims in Canada and other countries to expose the devastating effects of Canada’s love affair with asbestos. She persuaded key politicians to break with the consensus and take a stand against the asbestos industry. And she took on the lies and distortions of the asbestos lobby, their go-to scientists and the politicians who pushed their interests in Government.

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  we have 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.

Lord Avebury

aveburyAsbestos 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).

Victims Groups disappointed at Mesothelioma Fund levy cut

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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. 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.

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.

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.

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.

Click here to view the Charter

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.

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.