Battle Over Pleural Plaques Compensation Continues

The Shields Gazette reported this week that the Scottish Parliament is bidding to introduce legislation to again give pleural plaque victims compensation.

Following that report, Lord Dixon of Jarrow, a former shipyard worker, said he had received a 200-signature petition from former shipyard workers and their relatives in South Tyneside, calling for justice for pleural plaque victims, who can no longer receive compensation following a recent Law Lords

Pleural plaques, or scarring of the lung tissue, is caused by exposure to asbestos, and can, in some cases, trigger the killer industrial diseases mesothelioma and asbestosis.

After attacking plans by Scottish ministers to give compensation to workers north of the border, Lord Dixon told fellow peers: "There was an article by Terry Kelly in the local paper – the Shields Gazette – headed Asbestos Ruling to be Challenged.

"It refers to what I have just said about the Scottish Parliament, and states: 'Former shipyard worker Fred Hewitt, of Fellside, South Shields, who has lived for years with the fear and anxiety of pleural plaques, or scarring of the lung tissue, welcomed the latest development in the compensation saga.

"Mr Hewitt, 73, who has seen friends die of the asbestos-related disease, said 'This news is champion, and I hope they are successful.
But there should not be different laws on either side of the border."

Mr Hewitt, who was exposed to asbestos during his time as a shipwright in local yards, is one of many former industrial workers in the borough living with the anxiety caused by pleural plaques. The Law Lords rejected an appeal by the UK's biggest trade union Unite, against an earlier ruling by the Court of Appeal in January last year.

The decision removes a right to compensation for pleural plaques, stretching back 20 years.

Lord Dixon also referred in his speech to a story by Gazette health reporter Kaye Henry, revealing that South Tyneside has the highest proportion at risk of future hospital admission from chronic pulmonary disease, amounting to 62 per cent above the national average.

Source: The Shields Gazette


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