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15 Jan 2004 : Column 843Wcontinued
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Totnes dated 19 November 2003 enclosing one from Mr. Christopher Martin-Gathern of Buckfastleigh about identity fraud. 
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Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether compensation payments to be made for eligible estate claims for former miners for (a) chronic bronchitis and emphysema and (b) vibration white finger are being processed. 
Nigel Griffiths: With regard to respiratory disease, the Department's priority is to settle claims from the eldest and sickest living miners and their widows. Estate claims are a lower priority and are being processed in accordance with the prioritisation process, agreed with the claimants' solicitors. They are processed when there are no higher priority claims to assess.
On vibration white finger (VWF) claims, where IRISC have received the necessary medical report and confirmation of the claimant's employment history, families of deceased miners are having their claims processed along with those from living miners.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) when she expects the last compensation payments to be made for eligible estate claims for former miners for (a) chronic bronchitis and emphysema and (b) vibration white finger; 
The Vibration White Finger (VWF) scheme has closed but claims can only be processed when all relevant documentation has been received from claimants. Estates claims are being processed alongside live claims where supporting documentation is available, we expect that the greater part of general damages claims will be made offers by the end of 2005. Compensation for services will extend beyond that.
The respiratory disease scheme is still open until 31 March 2004 and claims are currently coming in around 8,000 a week, of which around 5,000 are deceased claims (both widows and estates claims). The speed of processing claims will depend, among other things, on how quickly documentation is received from claimants after initial registration. Claims are processed in priority order, as agreed with miners' solicitors and estate claims come behind live individual claims.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate she has made of the number of claims for (a) vibration white finger and (b) respiratory disease for (i) former miners, (ii) widows of former miners and (iii) other eligible estate claims for former miners in (A) the UK, (B) England, (C) Scotland and (D) Wales. 
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|Live claims received (scheme closed 31 October 2002))||Widows/estate claims received (scheme closed 31 January 2003)|
The respiratory disease scheme closes at the end of March 2004. It is difficult to make estimates of final numbers as claims are currently coming in at around 8,000 per week. Some 5,000 of which are deceased claims.
|Live claims as of 21 December 2003||Widows/estate claims as of 21 December 2003|
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many chronic obstructive pulmonary disease compensation claims have been registered, broken down by coalfield area; how many live claimants there are; and how many (a) widows and (b) estates are claiming. 
|Deceased claims (widow/estate)||145,911||14,556||38,156|
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the Operation of Euratom Safeguards in 2002, Com (2003) 764 Final, in respect of its application to United Kingdom nuclear facilities and materials. 
Nigel Griffiths: An explanatory memorandum (16077/03) covering the Commission report on the operation of Euratom Safeguards during 2002 has been submitted to Parliament. In the report the Commission notes that its overall conclusion from activities during 2002 was that
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no evidence was found to suggest that nuclear materials were diverted from their intended uses. Nor was any evidence found to suggest non-compliance with provisions relating to particular safeguards provisions assumed by the Community under agreements concluded with third states. The report includes comments on a number of UK installations; these comments are generally positive. Discrepancies that arose at some UK reactors (Bradwell, Sizewell A and Wylfa) were followed-up and, after consultation with the operator involved, satisfactorily resolved. The Commission acknowledges that the operator had taken steps to correct the discrepancy and prevent its recurrence.
Jane Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will put in place a system of compulsory registration for installers and maintainers of oil-fired domestic central heating similar to the CORGI scheme for installers and maintainers of domestic gas appliances. 
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will urge the Post Office to re-examine the case of the closure of (a) Stock Road sub-post office, Billericay, Essex and (b) Barn Hall Post Office, Wickford, Essex, following the representations of the hon. Member for Billericay to the Post Office and Postwatch. 
Mr. Timms: Following public consultation, final decisions on post office closure proposals under the urban reinvention programme are an operational matter for Post Office Ltd., in the light of advice from Postwatch and other consultation responses.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the grants to investment projects made under regional selective assistance in 200304, stating for each (a) the amount of the award, (b) the region, (c) the type of project and (d) the justification for the award; and what amounts were allocated in each year since 1997. 
Jacqui Smith: For reasons of commercial confidentiality details of individual grants offered are generally only published once the first payment of grant has been made. Publication is limited to offers of £75,000 or more and details can be found in the January, April, July and October editions of Labour Market Tends.
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Ms Hewitt: My Department promotes the transfer of technology between many organisations in the UK and between British and overseas organisations. Our aim is to improve the productivity and competitiveness of British businesses along the lines we have set out in the recent Innovation Report "Competing in the global economy: the innovation challenge".
Although my Department assists the process of technology transfer through business support products such as Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, the vast majority of technology transfer agreements are arranged privately. I welcome the considerable expansion of technology and knowledge transfer in the UK that has occurred in recent years, largely as a result of innovative programmes such as the Higher Education Innovation Fund, that have seeded the idea of spin-out firms or other exploitation of science and technology in the minds of our researchers and technologists in academia and business.
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