§ Adam Price
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 20 January 2004,Official Report, column 1174W, on miners' compensation, for what reason the initial discussions about a direct agreement with the National Union of Mineworkers were not pursued. 
§ Mr. Timms
[holding answer 11 February 2004]In May 1998 my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Battle) invited the NUM to contribute to the Claims Handling Arrangements through their solicitors, Raleys. Raleys, although not one of the firms chosen to negotiate directly with the Department, were members of the Claimants' Solicitors Group represented by these firms. Raleys were kept informed and asked to contribute to the negotiations on numerous occasions throughout the process.
The NUM declined this opportunity and Mr. Scargill made it clear in a letter of 20 May 1999 that he wouldnot be bound by any agreement reached by any Steering Committee or grouping of solicitors".
The NUM have subsequently declined the offer of further meetings.
§ Adam Price
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the average payment in compensation received was in cases fully settled under the chest disease compensation scheme by claimants(a) who have had their claims processed by the Union of Democratic Mineworkers Nottingham section subsidiary company Vendside and (b) who have had their claims processed by all other solicitors in England. 1623W
§ Nigel Griffiths
At the court hearing on 3 February 2004 the judge made it clear that if offers were in line with the Agreement, following the High Court judgment, then the issue of low-value offers was for the solicitors to consider further, not the DTI.