Parliamentarians Vote Down Motion to Delay Statutory Mesothelioma Payment Scheme in Guernsey

We announced, in edition 258 of BC Disease News (here), that the States of Jersey had agreed to legislation that would introduce a matrix of statutory mesothelioma damages, akin to the UK Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS).

Subsequently, in edition 295 (here), we reported that funding had been officially approved in the States of Guernsey’s budget for the introduction of a similar strict liability scheme, which could theoretically be rolled out in 2021.

Apprehensive of ‘significant’ financial damage to the nation’s economy, due to COVID-19, the Policy & Resources Committee had, in recent weeks, threatened to delay the inauguration of a costly scheme in Guernsey.

An ‘11th hour’ sursis (delaying) motion was lodged at the end of May, imploring policy makers to contextualise statutory mesothelioma awards (albeit well-intentioned) with ‘other funding priorities’ post-COVID-19.[i]

In spite of political backlash, the motion was not withdrawn and was laid before States members on 4 June, only to be rejected by 5 votes to 33.[ii]

Striking unanimous agreement among politicians, the Committee for Employment and Social Security will now seek to establish the compensation scheme by 2021, at an annual cost of £100,000.

It is presumed that the risk of mesothelioma in the Channel Islands is higher in Guernsey than in Jersey, as the island did not pass regulations on the control of asbestos until a later date.

 

[i] ‘Delay to Guernsey cancer compensation scheme is “unnecessary, destructive and cruel”’(29 May 2020 ITV) <https://www.itv.com/news/channel/2020-05-29/delay-to-guernsey-cancer-compensation-scheme-is-unnecessary-destructive-and-cruel/> accessed 12 June 2020.

[ii] ‘Asbestos-related cancer compensation scheme approved in Guernsey’ (4 June 2020 ITV) <https://www.itv.com/news/channel/2020-06-04/asbestos-related-cancer-compensation-scheme-approved-in-guernsey/> accessed 12 June 2020.