§ Mr. Clapham
To ask the President of the Board of Trade when her officials last met British Coal to discuss progress with the current review of the Coal Industry pneumoconiosis scheme. 
§ Mr. Battle
[holding answer 2 June 1997]: I understand that British Coal are currently well advanced in negotiations with the mining trades unions about revisions to their pneumoconiosis compensation scheme (PCS). Departmental officials have been kept abreast of the discussions, as DTI provides the necessary finance for British Coal's activities and will be directly responsible for their management when the liability is transferred from the Corporation at the end of the year. This "no-fault" scheme is an alternative to common law litigation for former miners who had ten years in the coal industry and who have been certified by a DSS Medical Board as having pneumoconiosis. It provides a faster and cheaper means of obtaining compensation, with lump sums being awarded according to the severity and starting date of the condition, and weekly payments made in appropriate cases to compensate for loss of earnings.