Thursday, 3 May 2012

Crouch victory over Legal Aid bill

Crouch: Constituents before Government
I'd spent the best part of last Tuesday's free time reading through Hansrad trying to get to the bottom of the amendments and proposals to do with the Legal aid Bill and the Mesothelioma amendments. I gratefully received a lot of very useful information from Harry Collins and drafted a rough blog post and statement for the Medway Libdem exec committee meeting to organise a support campaign to support the campaign against the Government's actions but it appears it would be for nought.

I saw a RT on Twitter from Tracey Crouch with excellent news the following morning;

Government concession on exempting Mesothelioma victims from Bill is very welcome. Proud to have stood up for victims

I must put in a brief retraction however. In my last post (linked above) I suggested that the Government were trying to remove Legal Aid. After a brief exchange with Tracey last Wednesday I found that, as per usual I had charged off in the wrong direction!
In fact, the Legal Aid bill was about "No win, No fee" reform. (Whoops!!!) According to the Medway Messenger (MP welcomes U-turn on Legal aid bill, 30-4-12 p.3);

There will now be a review of the Legal aid Bill which will see successful claimants pay part of their damages, up to 25%, to their Solicitors.

Tracey went on to say:

I thought it was wrong that the government was trying to force meso victims to have to shop around for a lawyer on the basis of who was going to take the least amount of their pay out.

So good news for sufferers and their families. I hope that the review will rule come out in favour.

Asbestosis and Mesothelioma are an awful blight and condition in the Medway towns (the standardised mortality rates for males in Medway in 1981-2005 was 284 cases, the second highest in the Southeastern region after Portsmouth with 335). Medway is a Kent hot spot for the condition quickly followed by the Gravesend & Gravesham, Swale and Dartford constituencies. Indeed 432 people have died from this condition in the County between 2006 and 2010 with the peak still some way in the distance. In 2009 some 2300 people died, roughly 6 a day! Once the condition manifests itself it is often too late for treatment so it is ultimately very fatal with maybe a year to live.

This compensation should be for the families and victims not for lawyers and Tracey is right, at a time of upset and stress like this do you really want to be trawling the web and high streets comparing quotes?

Congrats though to Tracey who has worked and I'm sure will continue to work hard on this. This is something I am embarrassed to say was not supported by some Libdems as well as Conservatives in the house but helping and supporting victims of this awful disease should be everybody's stance here in Medway and I'm sure everyone from all political groups agree and owe Tracey a vote of thanks on this.

More on this story here more information on Mesothelioma here and here.

No comments:

Post a Comment