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Asbestos payouts legislation 'not perfect'

A new law that will award £100,000 compensation payouts to around 300 victims of a fatal asbestos-related cancer every year is "not perfect", Disability Minister Mike Penning has admitted.

Mr Penning made the admission after Labour attacked Government plans to make insurance companies contribute to compensate victims of mesothelioma - a cancer which is caused by exposure to asbestos fibres.

Under the proposals, those unable to receive compensation from former employers because they cannot trace them or their insurers will get compensation through a scheme funded by a levy on current insurers.

The Opposition claimed that insurance companies are getting away cheaply as the estimated size of the levy - £350 million - is small when firms' profits are taken into account.

Mr Penning said: "There was nothing there before and if we were to have carried on with the way it was going nothing would be there going forward for these people who are suffering so much."

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