HALTON has one of the country’s highest death rates for asbestos-related cancer, according to new figures.
Statistics show the number of people who died from mesothelioma – a terminal cancer of the lung wall – was recorded as the underlying cause of 27 deaths in the borough from 2006 to the end of 2010.
It is the equivalent to 3.5 deaths in 100,000 people. The average for England and Wales during the same period was 2.5.
The figures for England and Wales were obtained from the Office For National Statistics using the Freedom Of Information Act.
David Bott, president of not-for-profit campaign group the Association Of Personal Injury Lawyers, said: “More people die of mesothelioma in Halton per head of the population than in most other parts of the country.
“This is bad enough, but the number of men dying from this disease is expected to peak during the next five years and what many people don’t realise is that hundreds of sufferers across the UK cannot get the compensation they need to help them through the last days of their life.
“What is needed is for the Government to bring forward proposals for a fund of last resort which would act as a safety net for injured workers who are otherwise unable to pursue the justice they deserve.”
APIL said many workers are often unable to pursue a claim for damages because they are unable to trace their former employers.
The group has called on the Government to provide support for retired workers to bring damages claims against their former employers.
He added: “The Government proposed to set up a fund of last resort shortly before the general election, but 18 months has now passed and nothing has been heard about it since.
“This unacceptable situation simply cannot go on. Something must be done before more dying victims of mesothelioma go uncompensated.”
The area with the highest mesothelioma death rate from 2006 to the end of 2010 was Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, with 8.4 deaths per 100,000 people.