Kate spoke at an event to remember the victims of mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.
For Action Mesothelioma Day on 7th July Kate joined mesothelioma sufferers and families affected by mesothelioma in Sackvile Gardens, Manchester, to release doves in memory of all those who died from this tragic disease.
Kate was joined by Greater Manchester MPs Tony Lloyd, Lucy Powell, Mike Kane and Debbie Abrahams at the event, and by dozens of campaigners, victims and their families, including Mrs Elaine Haskins from Urmston whose husband died from mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma hardens the muscles in the lungs and abdomen until the sufferer can no longer breathe. It is a quickly fatal disease, there is no cure and almost all victims die within three years of diagnosis, most within just a few months.
Exposure to asbestos is the disease’s only trigger. So – because of a law introduced by Labour in the 1960s (the Employers’ Liability Act) – anyone subjected to this risk at work is entitled to compensation.
Kate has campaigned to help the families of the victims of mesothelioma receive more compensation and has frequently raised the issue in parliament.
Approximately 2,000 people are diagnosed with the disease each year, and many victims live in former industrial areas such as Manchester, Liverpool and the North East.
Kate said, "It’s outrageous that so many people who die of this cruel and terrible disease do so because of exposure to asbestos simply from going out to work to support their families.
“These people deserve fair compensation, and more investment in research to find a cure. I pledge to do all I can to keep the spotlight on these matters in parliament, and demand action to give them justice.”
Elaine Haskins said, "I lost my husband Hugh to mesothelioma he contracted from working with asbestos. I don't want other families to suffer what we've been through; there must never be shortcuts when it comes to health and safety.
“People think no-one uses asbestos now, but it's still present in many buildings. I want honesty from the government about where it's been used, and tough laws to protect people from exposure to it."