Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

ASBESTOS CLAIMS - THE 'TICKING TIMEBOMB' ; SPECIAL INVESTIGATION: Town Hall Bosses . SPECIAL INVESTIGATION: Town Hall Bosses .Are Facing Mounting Compensation Bills over Deaths Caused by the 'Killer Dust' over the Decades

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

ASBESTOS CLAIMS - THE 'TICKING TIMEBOMB' ; SPECIAL INVESTIGATION: Town Hall Bosses . SPECIAL INVESTIGATION: Town Hall Bosses .Are Facing Mounting Compensation Bills over Deaths Caused by the 'Killer Dust' over the Decades

Article excerpt

TOWN hall bosses throughout Greater Manchester are facing a 'ticking timebomb' of mounting claims from people struck down with conditions linked to deadly asbestos.

Manchester Council paid out almost Pounds 600,000 in damages to victims in the last year alone, an M.E.N investigation has found.

The 2013/14 claims had to be settled using taxpayers' money, rather than through insurance as the cases predated the 1980s when the council did not have asbestos cover.

Figures obtained under Freedom of Information requests reveal victims of asbestos-related diseases have won a total of Pounds 1.8m in damages from councils in Greater Manchester councils in recent years.

Campaigners believe payments are likely to soar over the coming decade as more people fall ill and die after being exposed to the material.

The compensation claims came from victims who breathed in asbestos fibres in buildings like schools, offices and community centres.

It can cause mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer which attacks the lining of organs and is always fatal.

The number of people killed by the disease has soared by 500 per cent in the last 30 years - with new cases expected to peak in 2020.

Graham Dring, coordinator of Greater Manchester Asbestos Victims Support Group, said: "Compensation payouts will probably rise as new mesothelioma cases continue to increase.

"The dangers of asbestos have been known about for decades but too often ignored.

"The epidemic we see now was a man-made disaster and avoidable. Prof-aster Prof its were put before the health and safety of work- working men and women who are the ones paying the price for employer and political negligence."

At least 1,600 of the region's local authority buildings - including 700 schools - still contain asbestos, which was widely- used in the construction industry from the 1950s until the 1990s.

It is thought the majority of asbestos victims to date will have been construction workers - although Mr Dring said he expected professions like teachers, office workers and caretakers to be increasingly affected in the future. …

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