Peers debate Mesothelioma Bill at report stage

Association of Personal Injury Lawyers News Update:

"As report stage of the Mesothelioma Bill got underway in the House of Lords, work and pensions minister Lord Freud sought to reassure peers that the appointment of a scheme administrator was not a ‘done deal'.

He said that an open competition will take place, with the administrator being chosen through open tender. He also revealed that the Department for Work and Pensions is exploring options to establish an oversight committee for the new scheme.

Despite this, Labour peer Lord Howarth of Newport called for the Government to ensure that the scheme administrator is unbiased, telling peers that "mesothelioma victims have few champions. They have the Asbestos Victims Support Group’s forum and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers".

Lord Freud also announced that claimants in the scheme will receive 75 per cent of the average compensation award, as opposed to 70 per cent which was originally proposed. While this was welcomed by peers, Lord Howarth said he felt that 90 per cent "is the very minimum with which we could be satisfied", having been told by APIL that the Financial Services Compensation Scheme pays at the 90 per cent level for people exposed to asbestos before employers’ liability insurance became compulsory.

No opposition amendments were successful, and the Bill will now have its third reading in the House of Lords on Monday."

The debate can be read here

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