Last reviewed 12 March 2014

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has published details of its new compensation scheme, due to start in April 2014, confirming that asbestos victims will receive £123,000 in compensation.

The Government has confirmed that victims of the fatal 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 reportedly increased this amount from the initial figure of £115,000 debated in the House of Commons in January 2014 after making savings in the administration costs of the scheme.

Around 3500 victims of the aggressive cancer or their families can apply for compensation from next month and will receive a payment of around £123,000 from July 2014, as part of a £380 million package.

Mesothelioma, which often takes 40 to 50 years to present symptoms after exposure to asbestos, has resulted in more than 300 people every year struggling to find a relevant party to sue for damages, because companies become insolvent or insurance records go missing.

The Mesothelioma Act 2014 was passed in January and allowed for the creation of a new package of support — funded by insurance firms — to pay in excess of 800 eligible people in 2014 and 300 every year after that, until 2024. Victims, or their dependents (where the sufferer has died), will receive substantially higher payments than the statutory schemes currently operated by the Government. They will also get an additional £7000 towards legal expenses.

The claims handling company Gallagher Bassett has been appointed to run the compensation scheme.