§ Mr. Frank Field:
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will reply to the letter of 17 July from the right hon. Member for Birkenhead to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury in respect of a constituent, Mr. Peter Clark of Cleveland Street, Birkenhead. 
§ Ruth Kelly:
I am sorry for the delay in sending a substantive reply to my right hon. Friend's letter of 17 July to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. I can confirm that a reply has now been sent as follows:
Letter from Ruth Kelly to Mr. Frank Field dated 2 December 2003:
Further to my letter of 4 September, I am sorry not to have replied more quickly to your letter to Paul Boateng of 17 July on behalf of your constituent, Mr. Peter Clark of Mclvers, Cleveland Street, Birkenhead.
You note that Mclvers are liable to pay asbestosis claims as a result of the insolvency of Chester Street Insurance Holding Ltd., and that they will not receive support from the FSCS.
The government has worked hard with the insurance industry to end the uncertainty for victims of asbestosis, and their families, whose former employers had insured with Chester Street. Those arrangements were set out in Andrew Smith's statement on 10 May 2001.
For employers, under their rules the Financial Services Compensation Scheme may be able to offer compensation for employers' liability insurance claims incurred after 31 December 1971, when insurance became compulsory. But there is no eligibility for compensation to employers before that date. If a firm is still trading and has sufficient financial resources to satisfy a claim, the firm will be expected to meet the claim itself. I understand, from the FSCS, that there is no flexibility on this point. The FSCS rules are governed by the Policyholders Protection Act 1975.
I hope Mr. Clark will find this helpful.31W
§ Mr. Kaufman:
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he intends to reply to the letter to him dated 27 October from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton, with regard to Ms N. Oakes.