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Welsh assembly asbestos bill postponed

Welsh assembly asbestos bill postponed

A bill that would have allowed the Welsh NHS to recover the costs of treating people who have been exposed to asbestos from insurance companies has been delayed.

Assembly Members (AMs) in the Senedd were due to vote today (June 5th) on proposals to charge insurers the costs incurred when treating the huge numbers in Wales who suffer from Asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma.

The vote on the proposal has now been postponed until the middle of next month, according to BBC Wales.

Welsh Labour's Mick Antoniw, who created the bill, said technical problems had delayed the proposals, but if a majority voted in favour of the changes, they would come into effect quickly following royal assent.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has voiced its opposition to the bill and has written to the secretary of state for Wales on numerous occasions to highlight "serious concerns" with the impact the bill might have on its business practices in the small nation.

Additionally, the ABI says the changes due to take place are not currently under the remit of the devolved Welsh government and any amendments could potentially be unlawful.

Some estimates have predicted the changes would bring in around £1 million of revenue for the Welsh government annually.

Asbestos exposure is a big problem in Wales and it was recently revealed there was an extensive amount of the toxic substance present in Cwmcarn High School, Caerphilly, according to Wales Online.

The school was closed down after a report in October found pupils were at risk of inhaling carcinogenic particles from insulation.

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams said the asbestos problem facing Welsh educational institutions was huge - adding a national audit of schools was needed.

A Welsh government spokeswoman said: "Local authorities or schools governing bodies in Wales have a legal responsibility to have up-to-date records on the location and condition of asbestos containing material.

"Appropriate management plans are in place to detail how the risks from these materials will be managed."

Contact our accident and injury solicitors on 0800 916 9046 or email enquiries@slatergordon.co.uk if you would like advice on any asbestos matter

Posted by Francesca Witney