Pleural plaques sufferers have been told that the long awaited government announcement on compensation will be made before the summer.

Lord Chancellor, Jack Straw, told the House of Commons this week that the complexities involved has delayed an announcement on the government’s decision.

It is now hoped a conclusion will be reached before the summer recess.

Mr Straw said: “Consideration of the responses, of which we have received quite a number following publication of our paper on the way forward, is taking longer than we anticipated, because of the complexity involved. However, I certainly intend that we should come to conclusions before the summer recess.”

People with pleural plaques have been waiting for the government to announce its findings on a consultation held following a House of Lords decision in 2007 which ended the right to compensation.

Pleural plaques are scarring of the lungs caused by asbestos

Pleural plaques are scarring of the lungs caused by asbestos. Although rarely causing symptoms they are associated with an increased risk of developing fatal conditions like mesothelioma.

Thousands of people across the UK have pleural plaques. Most were exposed to asbestos in the workplace at a time when employers were fully aware of the harmful effects and did nothing to protect workers.

Many people with pleural plaques tell of the worry and uncertainty it causes knowing that one day they may develop asbestos cancer.

Ian McFall, head of asbestos policy at national trade union firm Thompsons Solicitors, said of the latest development: “Pleural plaques sufferers have been waiting for a decision from the government since a consultation on options ended in October 2008 and this latest announcement is just more delay.

“On a positive note a Private Member’s Bill to overturn the House of Lords decision was recently given a second reading and an announcement about when that Bill is going forward to committee is imminent.

“We can only hope for the sake of pleural plaques sufferers that the government will bite the political bullet, adopt that Bill and restore justice to where it belongs.”