THE TORIES refused yesterday to act on urgent calls to make insurers pay for potentially life-saving research into combating the asbestos-related disease mesothelioma.
Health Minister Lord Prior of Brampton said the government was “not predisposed” to the idea of a levy.
He delivered the heartless rebuff after Lord Alton of Liverpool warned that, without a medical breakthrough, the disease would claim a further 60,000 lives in Britain over the next three decades.
“This isn’t simply a disease of the past,” he told the Lords. “Asbestos remains present in about 86 per cent of schools.”
Under last year’s Mesothelioma Act, insurance firms are required to fund a compensation scheme for victims.
Lord Alton’s Bill would amend the legislation to ensure that the levy included a supplement to fund medical research.
The Bill received an unopposed second reading but has little chance of becoming law without government backing.