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New Clause 3 - Oversight committee

Part of Mesothelioma Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:30 pm on 12th December 2013.

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Photo of Kate Green Kate Green Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) 3:30 pm, 12th December 2013

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

There were some good discussions in the House of Lords about the need for some kind of independent oversight of a scheme that in all probability will be run by the insurance industry itself. As I said earlier, the issue is not simply whether that industry-run scheme—if indeed that is what transpires—is run properly and with propriety, but that it is seen to be so. That is where an independent oversight committee could have a considerable effect.

When the Bill was in the House of Lords, Lord Freud wrote to peers outlining details for an oversight committee in response to a number of debates initiated by my noble friend Lord McKenzie. The new clause I have tabled would put in the Bill a requirement for an independent oversight committee with responsibility for monitoring the activities of the scheme, the tracing database, the technical committee and the portal. The oversight committee proposed by the new clause would monitor and review those elements and report to the Secretary of State on overall arrangements. The committee would include representatives of the asbestos victim support groups, which rightly have seen their work acknowledged very positively in our discussions; trade unions, which have played a significant part over the years in supporting sufferers from this disease in obtaining justice; active insurers, who clearly have a particular interest as they are to a degree bearing the burden of the actions of insurers in the past—