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Asbestos scheme will be set up

Asbestos scheme will be set up

Monday 11 November 2019

Asbestos scheme will be set up

A longstanding campaigner for a scheme supporting sufferers of mesothelioma has finally got his proposals through the States.

The States agreed to get a mesothelioma compensation scheme up and running by 1 January 2021.

It will apply to people resident in the Bailiwick who have been diagnosed with diffuse mesothelioma following exposure to asbestos locally, with an estimated cost to the States of £100,000 per year. 

Deputy Matt Fallaize, who has pressed the case for such a scheme for many years, got the proposal through the States as an amendment to the Budget

“I am delighted that the States supported my proposal and that the Bailiwick will now have a mesothelioma compensation scheme by 1 January 2021 at the latest," he said. 

“I tried to persuade the States to provide the funding to set up the scheme in July 2020.  I did not really expect that proposal to go through, but it lost only on a tied vote."

Michelle Le Clerc

Pictured: ESS President Michelle Le Clerc apologised for her committee's failure to make sufficient progress with a compensation scheme.

"There were only two votes against the proposal for 2021 and this demonstrates that the States fully understand why there needs to be a compensation scheme and that the States are fully commited to it.  This is an important step forward in workplace and social protection and shows the States are keen to continue advancing social policy despite financial challenges.

Employment & Social Security President Michelle Le Clerc was sorry her committee had not managed to make progress with a compensation scheme.

However, preparatory work is underway and she fully supported the amendment, which will be similar in nature to the one recently launched in Jersey. 

“The Committee for Employment & Social Security now has the full support of the States to develop the details of the scheme, which will probably be very similar to the scheme recently established in Jersey, and the Committee knows it will have the financial support necessary as part of its 2021 Budget," said Deputy Fallaize. 

“Guernsey, like the rest of the developed world, cannot put right the errors of the past in waiting too long to regulate the use of asbestos in the workplace, but the compensation scheme will be welcomed by sufferers and their families and will at least provide them with an element of support as their health deteriorates through no fault of their own.

“We know the Committee could have set up the scheme during 2020 if the States had provided funding through my first amendment.  My sense is that the Committee will do its best somehow to find the necessary funds as a one-off in 2020 in the knowledge they will be provided with the additional funds necessary as part of the 2021 States’ Budget.

"The decision of the States last week will inevitably accelerate work on a compensation scheme and provide long overdue support and assistance to people in desperately sad circumstances.”

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