§ Mr. Hepburn
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the target time is for a miner's compensation cheque(a) to be sent to a claimant after he has accepted an offer and (b) to be paid following the acceptance of an offer being met. 
§ Mr. Wilson
The Handling agreement for compensation for respiratory disease specifies that a payment is made to the claimant's solicitor within 14 days of acceptance of an offer. In relation to vibration white finger, VWF, a payment should be made within 42 days. However, offers of compensation are usually paid by IRISC, the Department's claims handlers, within 10 days of receiving confirmation from a claimant's solicitor that their client's offer is being accepted. This is subject to IRISC being in receipt of the correct documentation, such as Grant of Probate in deceased cases.
Payment by the claimant's solicitor to the claimant is not specified in the Handling agreement. The Department's opinion is that payment should be made as soon as a cheque has been received.
§ Ian Lucas
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much was paid by the Government from January to December 2001 in(a) Wales and (b) England, pursuant to the Miners' Compensation Scheme as (i) damages to claimants, (ii) legal costs for claimants' lawyers and (iii) medical costs incurred by the claimants. 
§ Mr. Wilson
Between January and December 2001 the Department has paid out £392.7 million to respiratory disease and Vibration White Finger claimants in Wales and England in relation to damages payments and legal costs, broken down as follows:
£ million Damages Legal costs Respiratory Disease England 84.4 21.5 Wales 36.9 7.7 VWF England 193.3 20.8 Wales 25 2.9
The cost of medical examinations is normally borne by the Department. Where, exceptionally, claimant's have incurred medical costs the Department has paid out £64,434 broken down as follows:
Medical costs (£ million) Respiratory Disease England 19,357 Wales 3,193 VWF England 37,870 Wales 3,014