Havering has the country's ninth highest death rate for terminal asbestos cancer according to new figures.

The figures released from the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) show that from 2006 to the end of 2010 the borough's death rate for mesothelioma, a terminal cancer of the lung wall, was nearly double the national average.

APIL president David Bott said: "More people die of mesothelioma in Havering per head of the population than in most parts of the country.

"This is bad enough but the number of men dying from this disease is expected to peak during the next five years and what many people don't realise is that hundreds of sufferers across the UK cannot get the compensation they need to help them through the last days of their life."

The disease, which almost exclusively affects workers who have come into contact with asbestos, was recorded as the underlying cause of 85 deaths in the area- the equivalent to 4.9 deaths in 100,000 people.

The national average during the same period was 2.5.

The place with the highest death rate of mesothelioma was Barrow-in-Furness with a death rate of 8.4 followed by Medway with 6.5.

The places with the lowest death rates of asbestos cancer were South Somerset with 1,0 and Westminster with 0.9.

The association is now calling for a fund of last resort to be set up which would act as a safety net for injured workers.

Their campaign has already been supported by Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas.

Mr Cruddas said: "This is particularly urgent for people who were exposed to asbestos at work years ago and are now sick and dying.

"Without the safety net of a fund of last resort, sufferers can be left with no other way of obtaining the compensation which should at least give them some comfort in the last days of their life."

Local MP Jon Cruddas says there is an "urgent need" for help to be given to sufferers of mesothelioma