UNIONS have warned that moves to allow victims of asbestos-related cancer who cannot trace a liable employer to apply for compensation worth an average of £115,000 do not go far enough.

The Department for Work and Pensions said around 3500 victims of mesothelioma will be able to apply for the funds. Ministers said the move would bring hope to former workers in heavy industries, who struggled to find an employer or insurer to sue for damages because firms become insolvent.

But John McClean of the GMB union said it only represented 75% of the potential compensation that the victims should receive.

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