Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

I Promise the Fight for Your Cash Will Carry on; Blaydon MP Dave Anderson Has Stood Defiantly with Campaigners for Compensation for Victims of Pleural Plaques. Today He Outlines His Determination to Continue the Fight

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

I Promise the Fight for Your Cash Will Carry on; Blaydon MP Dave Anderson Has Stood Defiantly with Campaigners for Compensation for Victims of Pleural Plaques. Today He Outlines His Determination to Continue the Fight

Article excerpt

I AM passionate about this issue.

I hail from a mining and industrial area and know well the damage pleural plaques has done to so many innocent people. Their lives have been damaged or destroyed by their employers' criminal actions.

I was disgusted when the Law Lords overturned many years of the process of claiming compensation. It wasn't causing problems. It proved a day of celebration for the real culprits, the responsibility-shirking employers and for their insurers who boasted that they would save pounds 1.4bn.

That is why I have stood shoulder to shoulder with those campaigning for justice. With Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn, the trade unions, Thompsons solicitors, and the Chronicle, we have demanded pay-outs be made available to all sufferers of the condition. I am sure campaigners will not let up in their efforts. I can assure them, nor will I. The case for reinstating compensation is very clear and has been ably amplified by the Chron-icle's sterling campaign. We have raised the issue on very many occasions in Parliament and in direct meetings with the Justice Secretary Jack Straw and Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Sadly, despite all of our efforts, the Government has continued to rely on the medical evidence that suggests Pleural Plaques is 'asymptomatic' and that it only infrequently develops into something more serious.

We have challenged this, but their view is based on the material that the Law Lords took into consideration.

I feel we have done enough to cast doubt on the medical opinion with the Government. I am more than happy to co-sponsor a private members Bill which will reverse the position to that which applied prior to the Law Lords ruling.

The real problem is the cost of compensation.

Varying figures from the Government put it at between pounds 26m and pounds 41m. Unions suggest it would be around pounds 35m. All these are annual figures spread over 15 years.

This is a not insubstantial money at any time, especially when we are recovering from a recession, but Pleural Plaques is not an insubstantial disease. …

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