The TUC has welcomed the launch of a consultation on the setting up of an Employers Liability Insurance Bureau by the Department for Work and Pensions.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘The creation of an Employers Liability Insurance Bureau will be of real benefit for those who develop a disease as a result of exposure to asbestos or other hazardous substances.

‘Because of the length of time between exposure to a chemical or asbestos and the development of diseases, it can be very difficult to trace who the insurer was at the time of exposure. This means that, in many cases, someone who contracts an work-related disease as a result of their employer’s negligence is unable to get the compensation they are entitled to.

‘The Government proposals will ensure that, where an insurer cannot be traced, those who develop a disease will receive compensation in the same way that someone hit by a car will get compensation where the owner of the vehicle cannot be traced.

‘The TUC also welcomes the proposal for a tracing office which will make it easier to trace policies, however it effectiveness will depend on the quality of kept on the tracing bureau’s database.

‘The introduction of an Employers Liability Insurance Bureau and a tracing office is a fair and common sense solution that the TUC has been campaigning for. Building on the compensation changes that the Government had already implemented for those with mesothelioma, these proposals will make a marked difference to those who suffer from a fatal disease as a result of exposure to this deadly fibre.

‘Nevertheless, we are disappointed that the Government has still not come forward with proposals to reverse the House of Lords ruling to remove the right to compensation for those who develop pleural plaques, and we vwill continue to campaign for a change in the law.’