Labour pledges additional funds for mesothelioma research

  • @davidcrookes

Labour has pledged to plough more money into mesothelioma research if the party is elected into power next year.

Andy Burnham, the shadow Secretary of State for Health, told an audience outside Manchester Town Hall today that he backed a campaign for greater awareness of the asbestos-related cancer.

He said the fight had to continue even though he welcomed the Mesothelioma Bill which was passed by Parliament in March to help sufferers and their families gain compensation if a liable insurance company cannot be traced.

He said he would ensure, should he become a future Labour Government's Health Secretary, that more money would made available for the ongoing drive to find a cure. He would also look to encourage donations for research from insurance companies.

"I pledge today that more money will be given by government to research," he said. "Mesothelioma is a terrible disease and more help must be given. I support those fighting for more money for research."

Mesothelioma is a disease of the pleural lining of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos. It has a latency period of 32 years and it caused more than 2,500 deaths in 2012, a rise of 10 per cent.

Long-term campaigner Lord Alton of Liverpool also spoke in Manchester during a subsequent public meeting for Action Mesothelioma Day taking place in the city.

He said: "Much still needs to be done for mesothelioma sufferers and to fund research into the disease."

He said men had been sent to work with asbestos despite decades of knowledge of its ill-effects.