‘Secret’ Cut To Levy On Mesothelioma Scheme ‘A Slap In The Face Of Victims’

Government ‘Once Again Misses Opportunity To Provide Vital Support’


The Government’s ‘secret’ decision to cut the amount of money that insurers must provide to support the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) compensation scheme for mesothelioma sufferers is ‘yet another slap in the face’ for victims, according to specialist asbestos lawyers.

Reports have claimed that the levy on insurance companies used to fund the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payments Scheme, designed to help victims of the asbestos-related disease who are unable to trace an employer or an employer’s insurer, has been reduced from three per cent to 2.2 per cent.

A spokeswoman for the DWP told the Northern Echo that the decision had been driven by a low volume of applications to the scheme, which opened in July 2014.

Now, asbestos lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are calling on the Government to reverse the ‘appalling’ decision and use any surplus funds to:

  • increase the level of compensation available to applicants, with payments currently standing at 80 per cent of the average settlement;
  • or increase the number of people eligible to apply by offering payments to those diagnosed with mesothelioma before the current deadline of July 2012
Expert Opinion
While the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payments Scheme has been providing vital support to victims of this terrible asbestos-related disease, it has always been a flawed system – primarily due to the fact applicants are only eligible to receive 80 per cent of the average settlement.

"As a result, news of this secret cut in the levy is yet another slap in the face for victims, with the Government once again missing the opportunity to put the interests of mesothelioma sufferers – people who have already paid the ultimate price yet only get partial compensation – before anything else.

"The Government’s excuse that the levy has been cut as fewer applicants are coming forward is simply unacceptable, as there are clearly far better uses for any funds deemed surplus.

"Increasing the level of compensation would be an important step towards getting mesothelioma victims and their families the support they deserve or, alternatively, pushing the date of eligibility back would mean more people can get access to the vital support they require.

"The original levy of three per cent is a relatively small price for insurers to pay towards this scheme which at the very least ensures victims get some support. Yet, the Government has chosen to simply hand some of that money back, rather than considering a workable solution which will ensure people whose lives have been ruined by asbestos exposure can get the help they need."
Adrian Budgen, Partner