MP slams plan to scrap work law

SCRAPPING a piece of important employment legislation which could put workers at risk would be "crazy," Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn warned today.

Employers have always been required by law to retain their insurance policy records for 40 years.

This is vital for people who contract long-term diseases, which can lie dormant for years, such as mesothelioma.

Now the Government plans to scrap the regulation, because it says it cannot be enforced and is a burden to business.

But Mr Hepburn, who has campaigned for asbestos victims for several years, has attacked the move.

He said: "Some industrial diseases can take years to develop in the body, so it is crazy to scrap this important workplace regulation.

"I will be writing to the minister, urging a change of heart."

Fears over the moves have also come from Amanda Stevens, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.

She said: "An injured worker has to be able to trace his employer's insurer in order to obtain the compensation he needs to help him deal with an injury or disease caused by the employer's negligence.

"Removing the regulation which obligates employers to retain their insurance policies really weakens an already creaking system of protection for workers."

She added: "It is not too late for the Government to change its mind on this, and we urge ministers to consider the impact on injured people before going ahead with this move."

Calls have been made for an electronic database to be established, which would automatically record all employers' liability insurance policies.