Wales politics

Supreme Court to decide on asbestos NHS treatment cost recovery bill

Lung scan showing cancer
Image caption Insurers have claimed legislation would not benefit asbestos sufferers or the NHS

A legal dispute over an attempt to force companies to pay the medical costs of staff made ill by asbestos has been referred to the Supreme Court.

A bill passed by AMs would make firms reimburse the NHS for workers needing treatment due to exposure to asbestos.

The Welsh government's law officer has asked the Supreme Court to decide whether the assembly has the power to pass the legislation.

The insurance industry says the bill goes beyond its law-making powers.

It is the first time Counsel General Theodore Huckle QC - who gives the Welsh government advice on legislative matters - has made such a referral to the Supreme Court, although similar cases have been brought by the UK government.

The court upheld a bill passed by the assembly to reform local government bylaws in November after it was challenged by the Attorney General Dominic Grieve.

The attorney general is also challenging an attempt by Welsh ministers to set the wages of farm workers.

The Supreme Court is due to hear the case in February.

The Recovery of Medical Costs for Asbestos Diseases (Wales) Bill was introduced by Labour backbencher Mick Antoniw.

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