Families back asbestos fund

Albert Jones
Albert Jones
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THE families of two men who died from an industrial disease have backed calls for a “last resort” fund.

It comes as statistics published this week revealed more people have died of asbestos related cancer in Blackpool than in most other parts of the country.

Michael Butterworth, former head of economics at Arnold School, who died in March.

Michael Butterworth, former head of economics at Arnold School, who died in March.

The figures, released by the Office for National Statistics, show 31 residents died from mesothelioma – a terminal cancer of the lung wall – between 2006 to the end of 2010.

That is an equivalent of 2.7 deaths in 100,000 people, 0.2 above the national average of 2.5 for the same period.

The statistics have led to calls for the creation of a fund for victims who cannot trace insurers – a “last resort” fund promised by the Government two years ago.

David Jones, owner of The Henson Hotel on Clifton Drive, Blackpool, lost his dad, Albert, to mesothelioma last year.

Exposed

He said; “I am surprised to hear Blackpool is above the national average, my dad was exposed to the substance as a barrel maker at the ICI in Salford and later in Scotland.

“But it shows how many people are affected and why it is so important any funding to help victims and their families should be made available, it can be difficult to trace employers.”

Maureen Butterworth, of Hall Park Drive, Lytham, lost her husband Michael to the disease in 2010 – four years after he was diagnosed.

The former head of economics at Arnold School was exposed to asbestos during his time in the Royal Navy.

Maureen said: “We were told there was no way we could claim because the Crown is exempt from prosecution prior to 1987.

“The coroner told us she expected to see an increase in cases over the next few years as it can take up to 50 years to manifest.

“There is obviously a need for support and I hope the Government sets up a fund while the victims are alive.”

David Bott, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, said: “More people die of mesothelioma in Blackpool per head of the population than in other areas.

“This will peak in the next five years and what people don’t realise is hundreds of sufferers cannot get compensation. The Government must bring forward proposals for a fund of last resort which would act as a safety net for injured workers who are otherwise unable to pursue the justice they deserve.

“It was proposed prior to the general election, but 18 months later we haven’t heard about it since.”