VICTIMS of the asbestos-induced cancer mesothelioma who cannot trace a liable employer or an employers’ liability insurer will soon be able to apply for compensation packages worth an average of £123,000. The Government has increased this from the initial £115,000 debated in the House of Commons in January after making savings in the administration costs of the scheme.

About 3,500 victims of the aggressive cancer or their families can apply for compensation from next month and will receive a payment of £123,000 from July this year, as part of a £380m package. Mesothelioma, which often takes 40-50 years to present symptoms after exposure to asbestos, has resulted in over 300 people every year struggling to find a relevant party to sue for damages, because companies become insolvent or insurance records go missing.

Work and Pensions Minister, Mike Penning said: “This will end years of injustice for mesothelioma victims and their families – who have had to endure this terrible disease with little hope of any compensation from the insurance industry. The claims handling company Gallagher Bassett is to run the scheme.