The amount of pay-outs made to victims of asbestos exposure is on course to hit £32 million in the first year of eligibility, it has been announced.
A new scheme introduced by the government in April 2014, increased the average compensation payment from £115,000 to £123,000 for people diagnosed with asbestos-induced cancer mesothelioma. To be eligible, the individual needs to have developed the condition after July 25 2012 and is not able to trace the liable employer. Following the strong initial results, government ministers are expecting the total amount of compensation paid to reach £32 million by next year, thenorthernecho.co.uk reports.
Figures show that by October, seven months after the scheme was first introduced, there had been 232 applications for asbestos-related compensation, of which 131 were awarded compensation. Those successes accounted for £16.5 million in pay-outs.
Mark Harper, the minister for disabled people, said: “For many years, sufferers of this terrible disease who cannot trace employers or insurers have been left without recourse to compensation.
“I am proud of what government and stakeholders have achieved in delivering the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme.”
Although the compensation scheme has been lauded by many government ministers, others believe it is unfair towards the thousands of victims who were diagnosed with mesothelioma before July 2012, independent.co.uk notes.
It was also controversial as the Justice Select Committee revealed that the Coalition government had struck a secret deal with insurance companies that would give them an unfair advantage, before settling on the increased compensation figure.