The Government has announced that the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS) levy will be reduced.
Minister for disabled people, Justin Tomlinson, stated: “I can announce today (12 January 2016) that the total amount of the levy to be charged for 2015/16, the second year of the DMPS, is £23.2m. It is estimated that the full cost of the scheme in 2015/16 will be £31m, but, as the amount levied in 2014/15 was greater than the final cost of the scheme for that year, £7.8m has been carried forward into 2015/16. The £23.2m will be payable by active insurers by the end of March 2016.”
This is very disappointing. Rather than reducing the insurance levy the Government should be making sure that the insurance industry properly fund the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme so that it provides parity with common law compensation and using any surplus to fund mesothelioma medical research.
Most mesothelioma sufferers can claim damages through their employer’s liability insurance, although a significant minority cannot due to the time it can take for the disease to appear and the resulting problems in tracing previous employers and insurance providers. The DMPS is designed to compensate sufferers with a one-off lump sum.
In December 2015 we blogged on the first annual review of the DMPS. The DMPS, which is funded by the insurance industry, was introduced in April 2014 and began making payments from July 2014, with the annual review covering its first year of operating. Under the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (Levy) Regulations 2014, employers’ liability insurers are obliged to pay costs relative to their market share.
Asbestos is the cause of the most fatalities in UK workplaces, with approximately 5,000 people dying each year from asbestos-related diseases including lung cancer and mesothelioma. Workers being exposed to asbestos is a global epidemic that simply doesn’t receive the attention that it should. In May 2015 a report from the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that one in three people working in Europe are potentially exposed to asbestos during their working day.
Patrick Walsh is a principal industrial disease lawyer for Slater and Gordon.
If you or a family member has suffered from an asbestos-related cancer or disease call the expert personal injury solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers on 0800 844 0275 or contact us online.