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Asbestos compensation reform to go through today

29 June 2006

Changes in the law relating to compensation for those suffering from asbestos-related cancers are expected to be rushed through the Scottish Parliament today.

The proposals will avoid any adverse effect of a recent House of Lords ruling in an English appeal that limited the amounts that could be paid out by individual defenders if workers had been employed by a number of different firms. It is expected to affect more than 1,000 former shipyard workers who developed lung cancer as a result of inhaling asbestos dust.

MSPs have altered their business for today so that the parliament can pass a Sewel motion, which gives Westminster the power to bring in the change in a devolved area of law. The House of Commons has also altered its business to permit MPs to pass the necessary emergency bill.

The Clydebank MSP Des McNulty has withdrawn his own compensation bill, as the Scottish Executive has promised to bring in another bill later this year that will make it easier for the families of victims who have died to claim compensation.