In a joint article for Labour List, Stephen and Shadow Minister for Disabilities, Kate Green MP, have urged the government to do more in tackling asbestos in the workplace. Earlier this week Labour’s frontbench Work and Pensions team met campaigners and experts to discuss the critically important issue of exposure to asbestos.  At the meetings, concerns were expressed about the inadequacy of the current safeguards.

Writing about the meetings in their article, Stephen and Kate said: "We heard evidence of a disproportionately high rate of mesothelioma among school teachers.  The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Health and Safety examined the dangers of asbestos in schools earlier this year.  Their report states: ‘…at present, there are serious deficiencies in the way that asbestos is managed in schools’.  A pro-active approach is required.  A good start would be to establish a clear picture of the scale of the problem. In addition, we need access to awareness raising and training for school staff and governors.  There is a problem in hospital buildings too.

"We need a clear strategy to combat the risk of asbestos in the workplace, and in wider society. We heard at the roundtable that Australia has established the “Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency”. A strategy needs to be backed up by pro-active inspections and awareness raising. Inaction now will store up problems for future generations. Labour is committed to working with campaigners, trade unions, medical practitioners and support groups to address this issue."

Stephen and Kate are very keen to hear from people who have views about the tackling of asbestos in order that suitable policies can be developed for a future Labour government. If you would like to get in touch, then please do so  Please email them at or or or write to them at the House of Commons

To view the article, click here.


AuthorStephen Timms