Within the last 5 years more than 396 deaths in Devon and Cornwall have been recorded as being caused by asbestos related disease Mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is caused by inhaling asbestos fibres.
Plymouth is one of the areas highest affected by Mesothelioma in the South West of England with more than 100 people dying last year; this is partly due to the historic activity of the Devonport Dockyard and industrial past of the city in previous years.
Compensation of more than £35 million has been paid to workers who have developed asbestos related diseases at the Devonport Dockyard. Asbestos was widely used on ships and buildings at the Royal Navy base. A Freedom of Information Act enquiry has shown that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has paid out a total of £19.4 million between 2006 and 2013.
The figures outlined in the House of Commons library shows Mesothelioma was the cause of 2,139 deaths across the UK within the last year alone.
Alison Seabeck, Labour MP for Plymouth Moor View has welcomed the news that a £350m deal has been reached to compensate those who are unable to trace who was responsible for them being exposed to the deadly fibres.
She said: “It is a ghastly disease and there are many families in Plymouth we are trying to help…
It has been decades trying to get some justice for those affected who have not been able to trace the insurers of the companies they worked for…
There is progress, but there is more to do to secure justice for sufferers and their families.”
Although this is a step in the right direction campaigners argue that compensation schemes do not go far enough as thousands of others suffering from asbestos related illnesses such as asbestosis will receive nothing.