HC Deb 01 February 1999 vol 324 c514W
Dan Norris

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects the compensation scheme for ex-miners suffering from chronic bronchitis and emphysema to become operative. [68542]

Mr. Battle

We are close to agreeing with the plaintiffs' solicitors the arrangements for dealing with the 65,000 claims received to date and the further 35,000 claims expected. We are currently tendering for a national spirometry testing programme which we aim to start by the end of March. This should ensure that interim payments and, in some cases, full and final settlements, can begin to be offered to miners who are most severely disabled in the Spring. We hope that full examinations under the agreed Medical Assessment Process will commence in early Summer.