We have today written to the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, and the leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer. We are asking for a moratorium on any new public contracts being awarded to Altrad, and its subsidiaries, until Altrad’s moral obligation to donate £10 million to mesothelioma research has been met.
The UK has some of the worst rates of asbestos disease in the world. Mesothelioma, an under-researched cancer caused by asbestos, killed 2,268 people in Great Britain in 2021.
Many people in the UK were exposed to Cape’s asbestos products. We believe there is now incontrovertible evidence that Cape hid the true dangers of its asbestos products from the public and regulators. Had the true dangers been known, we believe safety measures would have been made tougher, and a ban on asbestos brought in much sooner. We believe Cape’s actions cost many lives.
Though Cape no longer manufactures asbestos products, it is still trading, and is now owned by Altrad. We have been calling on Altrad to donate £10 million to mesothelioma research for more than a year now.
A substantial donation to research would atone for what Cape did a generation ago. It would allow researchers a chance to find new treatments for this terminal cancer that blights so many lives.
We hope that Altrad will eventually do the right thing. Yet we remain concerned that Altrad, and its subsidiaries, are still being awarded major public contracts before this matter has been settled. Recently Altrad were awarded a £30.8 million contract by Magnox Ltd, for decommissioning & asbestos removal at Berkeley Power Station in Gloucestershire.
A generation ago, Cape profited from asbestos. Today, Altrad is being given taxpayer money for asbestos removal. This cannot be right. It cannot be allowed to continue.
Press release: Cape Must Pay Press Release 21st July 2023
Open letter to Prime Minister Mr Rishi Sunak: Open Letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak 21st July 2023
Open letter to Leader of the Opposition Sir Keir Starmer: Open Letter to Leader of the Opposition Sir Keir Starmer 21st July 2023