§ Mr. Clapham
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many former mineworkers applied for an award for vibration white finger; and how many were rejected by the Benefits Agency in the last year for which figures are available; 
(2) if he will advise the Benefits Agency to use the test developed to diagnose vibration white finger in former mineworkers by the Department of Trade and Industry, 
(3) how many former mineworkers who applied for vibration white finger were rejected for an award because they had neurological damage in the last year for which figures are available. 418W
§ Malcolm Wicks
[holding answer 25 February 2002]: The information is not available in the format requested.
There is no simple, reliable and universally accepted test for vibration white finger. The test used by the Department of Trade and Industry for the settlement of compensation claims against British Coal fulfils the civil burden of proof in finding that former mineworkers have contracted vibration white finger as a result of their employer's negligence. This process involves litigation in individual cases and as such can be lengthy, detailed and expensive.
The test used for the industrial injuries scheme is simple, straightforward to administer and consistent nationally. We have no plans to adopt the tests being used by the Department of Trade and Industry.