News Archive

date: 6th June 2013
embargo: for immediate release

 

Northern TUC Asbestos Support Group has now secured over £1million for asbestos victims

The latest monthly report figures from the Northern TUC’s Asbestos Support and Campaign Group now show that since September 2012 it has been responsible for securing a total of £1,039,615.00 in compensation and welfare for asbestos victims in the north east and Cumbria.

The Group is a partnership between the Northern TUC, Macmillan Cancer Support, regional trade unions and Wallsend Memorial Hall and People’s Centre, with the primary function of offering support, advice and information (including help with benefit claims) to people living with the effects of asbestos poisoning. It employs two dedicated members of staff, Maggie Fitzsimons, Project Worker and Maggie Bailey, Macmillan Welfare Rights Adviser.

The staff have dealt with a total of 128 cases already in the last 9 months and there are more people accessing the service all the time. The success of the Group and its reputation for helping sufferers effectively and in a sensitive manner is now making it a recognised source of support. An increasing number of clients are being referred for help directly by health professionals including Macmillan and Cancer nurses in the region.

Micky Blench, Chair of the Northern TUC Asbestos Support and Campaign Group said: “The level of compensation and benefits we are seeing awarded and recovered by our Group is staggering and only serves as a poignant reminder that it is much needed and that demand for this service is only increasing. Our Group and on the ground staff work hard to ensure some of the most vulnerable people in our society are given the means to be cared for properly and benefit from any entitlements they are more than due.

“The growing number of referrals from dedicated health care professionals is a brilliant endorsement for Maggie and Maggie, and we can only hope it means more people who have been affected by asbestos or industrial diseases receive free, expert support with no ulterior motives.”


Maggie Bailey, Welfare Rights Adviser for the Group said: “It’s amazing to see what we’ve achieved in such a short space of time and the growing benefits and compensation recovered proves just how effective our Group is for the people it represents. Unfortunately there are many more people in similar circumstances who are missing out on support, benefits and services that would make their lives more comfortable at a distressing and stressful time.

“We offer a free, confidential service for anyone who has been diagnosed with an asbestos related disease or industrial cancer and above all, we’re here to help.”

Patients can talk to their Macmillan Nurse and ask to be referred to the Group, or contact them direct by calling 0191 2007198 or 0191 263 5029 or email asbestos@wallsendpc.org
The Northern TUC ASCG is based at Wallsend Memorial Hall and People’s Centre, Wallsend.


NOTES TO EDITORS:
- Northern TUC press releases www.tuc.org.uk/northern national releases www.tuc.org.uk and www.twitter.com/tucnews
- Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access pre embargo releases and reports www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet
- For TUC advice and information on the world of work www.workSMART.org.uk

Media contacts:
Tom Ross T: 0191 227 5555 M: 07919174202 E: tross@tuc.org.uk

 

date: 22 May 2013
embargo: for immediate release


Mesothelioma Bill: no act of benevolence, says Northern TUC Asbestos Support and Campaign Group

The government’s Mesothelioma Bill will exclude hundreds of people, many from this region, with the fatal asbestos-related cancer and leave others short-changed, GMB union organiser Michael Blench, chair of the TUC Northern Asbestos Support & Campaign Group, has warned.

The Bill, which had its second reading in Parliament this week, establishes a scheme of last resort for untraced employers’ liability insurance claims. But instead of providing protection for all industrial disease victims as unions had called for, it limits support to mesothelioma only, imposes an arbitrary eligibility cut-off date of 25 July 2012 and is expected only to pay only 70% of average compensation.

This means that hundreds of people diagnosed before that date unable to trace their employer’s liability insurer will lose out altogether and others will see average compensation cut by 30 per cent.

The TUC group is calling for the Bill to be amended so that the scheme’s commencement date is put back to 2010 when the last government consulted on introducing a scheme.

And it wants the Bill to ensure that the amount of compensation paid to mesothelioma sufferers is 100%, not the 70% intended by the government.

Michael Blench, Group Chair said: “The government has received a fair bit of praise in the North East media since it published the Mesothelioma Bill. It’s understandable that those diagnosed with this terrible disease, and the loved ones of those who have died, would welcome any initiative aimed at helping victims to recover compensation. Particularly those who have experienced first the devastation of the disease and then being told that they cannot recover compensation because the employer’s insurer could not be traced.

“But it’s important to look at the detail of the Bill and to see that it is not the act of benevolence it has been portrayed as. The government delayed announcing the scheme for over two years after the consultation ended while it worked on a deal with the insurance industry which would protect it from having to pay compensation in full. That delay means hundreds of people will be excluded. And there is no excuse for the scheme paying less than 100% compensation. The victims should not be short changed because the insurers lost or destroyed their policies.”

Ian McFall, head of asbestos litigation at Newcastle based Thompsons Solicitors said “Unless the Bill is improved to provide better protection and full compensation for victims and their families it will let insurers off the hook for losing or destroying the policies they profited from for decades.”

NOTES TO EDITORS:
- Northern TUC press releases www.tuc.org.uk/northern national releases www.tuc.org.uk and www.twitter.com/tucnews
- Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access pre embargo releases and reports www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet
- For TUC advice and information on the world of work www.workSMART.org.uk

Media contacts:
Tom Ross T: 0191 227 5555 M: 07919174202 E: tross@tuc.org.uk
Ian McFall, Thompsons Solicitors M: 07970728184 E: IanMcFall@Thompsons.law.co.uk

 

date: 16th May 2013
embargo: for immediate release


Mesothelioma Bill welcomed but still room for improvement, says Northern TUC Asbestos Group

The introduction of new compensation arrangements for mesothelioma victims was announced in the Queen’s Speech earlier this month. The current proposal will mean a payment of between £100,000 and £200,000 being made to 300 people every year – who previously would have received nothing.

The original proposal for this scheme came from the TUC in 2007 and sought for the compensation to cover all claims where the insurer could not be traced. The government’s current proposal only covers mesothelioma and not all occupational diseases.

Micky Blench, Chair of the Northern TUC Asbestos Support and Campaign Group said: “A massive 250-300 of the new cases of mesothelioma diagnosed each year will be in the northern region, so this is very much an important ongoing issue for us. Comprehensive legislation to ensure people are supported and cared for through some of their darkest hours is vital.

“Whilst the new proposals are most definitely a move in the right direction for the very deserving sufferers blighted by mesothelioma, it also underpins the reason for Groups like ours to exist. We will continue to campaign actively for improvements to widen the scope of the Bill to secure equal treatment for all asbestos victims and provide free, on-the–ground, practical support for victims of all occupational diseases and their families. Last year alone the work of our Group secured over £1 million in welfare support for those who accessed the service.”


NOTES TO EDITORS:
- Northern TUC press releases www.tuc.org.uk/northern national releases www.tuc.org.uk and www.twitter.com/tucnews
- Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access pre embargo releases and reports www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet
- For TUC advice and information on the world of work www.workSMART.org.uk

Media contacts:
Tom Ross T: 0191 227 5555 M: 07919174202 E: tross@tuc.org.uk
Micky Blench, GMB

 

date: 04 January 2013
embargo: for immediate release


Northern TUC Asbestos Group has won over £310,000 for asbestos victims and their families


Since September 2012, Advice Workers from the Northern TUC Asbestos Support and Campaign Group have secured nearly one third of a million pounds (£311,643.00) in one-off compensation payments for asbestos victims in the northern region. In addition to this, they have also facilitated payment of welfare benefits in excess of £105,000 per month for victims and their families. The recipients of the funds are suffering from a range of debilitating asbestos-related diseases including Mesothelioma, Asbestosis and Lung cancer.

The Group is a partnership between the Northern TUC, Macmillan Cancer Support, regional trade unions and Wallsend Memorial Hall and People’s Centre, with the primary function of offering support, advice and information (including help with benefit claims) to people living with the effects of asbestos poisoning. It employs two dedicated members of staff, Maggie Fitzsimons, Support Worker and Maggie Bailey, Macmillan Welfare Rights Adviser.

Working out of the Wallsend Memorial Hall and People’s Centre in North Tyneside they cover the whole northern region, from Northumberland to Tees Valley and over to north Cumbria. Established relationships with Health professionals, trade unions, law firms, Macmillan and Welfare Rights staff ensure a comprehensive and personal service for sufferers.

The benefits accrued are comprised of several areas, with the majority from the Workers’ Compensation Scheme and Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, supplemented by things like Attendance Allowances and Carers Allowance to help fund necessary day-to-day care.

Kevin Rowan, Northern TUC Regional Secretary said, “This is a huge, life-changing amount of money going to help the people who need it most, and as an added benefit it will be recycled into the local economy providing a win-win situation for the welfare of workers and the region as a whole.”


Stephen Guy, Macmillan Development Manager for North East said: “The expertise now available to Asbestos and Mesothelioma victims from within this initiative is evident from the recent successes. It is only correct that people who have suffered have their right to state benefits and compensation protected and maximised. This joint venture delivers.”


Maggie Bailey, Macmillan Welfare Rights Adviser said: “Research carried out by Macmillan shows that people affected by cancer are often unaware of the benefits they can claim and at the time of diagnosis need help to guide them through a complex welfare system. We visit people in their homes and help them with the forms and give advice. We can also give them information about other Macmillan services and support groups.”

NOTES TO EDITORS:
- Northern TUC press releases www.tuc.org.uk/northern national releases www.tuc.org.uk and www.twitter.com/tucnews
- Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access pre embargo releases and reports www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet
- For TUC advice and information on the world of work www.workSMART.org.uk

Media contacts:
Kevin Rowan, Regional Secretary T: 0191 232 3175 M: 07766250074 E: krowan@tuc.org.uk

 

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