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Blair meeting to aid asbestos victims

NEWS

TONY Blair will meet Labour MP Stephen Hepburn next week in a bid to improve help for people with asbestos-related cancer.

Mr Hepburn told the Prime Minister that 10 people die every week because of asbestos-related cancers 'due to the negligence of former employers' during Prime Ministers Questions in Parliament last week.

Mr Hepburn urged Mr Blair to treat this as a 'matter of urgency to ensure that those workers get the rightful compensation and not be dragged through the courts by multinational companies'.

Mr Blair said he hoped to 'give some comfort and succour' to workers within the next few weeks.

The meeting comes as the Health and Safety Executive tackled asbestos-related disease at a conference for asbestos removal contractors in Newmarket last Wednesday.

The conference for firms and trade unions in the south-east was set up to encourage companies to decide on steps to reduce exposure to asbestos and lessen the incidence of disease.

The National Individual Asbestos Certification Scheme was also launched last week after being granted UKAS accreditation.

The scheme ? a joint venture between the Asbestos Removal Contractors Association and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors ? will help to ensure asbestos is inspected correctly by certificated professionals.