The House of Lords has published a briefing1 on the Mesothelioma (Amendment) Bill 2015 (the Bill), which received its second reading in the House of Lords on 20 November 2015. The Bill seeks to amend the Mesothelioma Act 2014 (the Act) in order to ensure that research into mesothelioma is funded by active insurers.
Section 13(1) of the Act currently provides for regulations to be made which require active insurers to pay a levy to fund the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme. This scheme was set up in order to compensate people with diffuse mesothelioma who were exposed to asbestos by their employer and are unable to bring a claim for compensation against their employer or their employer’s provider of employers’ liability insurance. Further information about the scheme is available here:https://mesoscheme.org.uk.
The Bill will require the regulations which are made under the Act to specify that the levy which is paid by active insurers should include a research supplement of not more than 1% of the levy. The Bill will also specify that the amounts raised by the supplement would have to be applied by way of grants or other financial assistance for research into mesothelioma, and will require the Secretary of State to consult with insurers, medical charities and research foundations, and other interested parties prior to making any regulations regarding the research supplement.
The Bill is identical to the Mesothelioma (Amendment) Bill 2014-15 which was introduced into Parliament as a private member’s bill in the summer of 2014. The Bill has already progressed further than last year’s version, which did not receive a second reading in the House of Lords, but it remains to be seen whether the Bill will be adopted.
We will continue to track the Bill’s passage through Parliament and will report on its progress.