Victims of asbestos-related cancers will soon be able claim compensation much quicker when government proposals are made law.
The government revealed yesterday that some mesothelioma victims could receive fast-tracked compensation within six weeks of lodging their claim once new legislation is in place.
The proposals also include provisions made for claimants who were not previously eligible, such as spouses who contracted the disease through physical contact with their partner and people who had lived in the vicinity of factories that used asbestos.
Work and pensions secretary John Hutton said: "Currently too many people die before they get compensation, or they find they aren't eligible because they contracted the disease from living near a factory or being exposed to a relative who worked there, rather than working at the factory themselves."
The government's reform of laws for asbestos compensation comes after similar changes enacted by the Scottish Executive last year, which stripped away the long-standing clause whereby sufferers had to choose between claiming damages or letting relatives claim after their death.