|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the burden of European Union producer responsibility legislation upon the United Kingdom manufacturing industry; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Wilson: The concept of producer responsibility for waste is central to the EC directive on end-of-life vehicles (2000/53/EC) and the proposed EC directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment (COM (2000) 347 final). The implications for manufacturing industry of both these directives formed part of the regulatory impact assessments (RIAs) which the Department carried out to inform the UK's negotiating position. RIA assessments will continue to inform our consideration of the options for implementation. Copies of all RIAs have been placed in the Library of the House.
Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the compensation payments for respiratory diseases and vibration white finger made to recipients in (a) the Cynon Valley and (b) the rest of Wales. 
Mr. Wilson: With regard to respiratory disease, IRISC have made 146 final and 919 interim payments amounting to £4.45 million in the constituency of Cynon Valley, as defined by the postcodes with prefixes CF 37, 44 and 45. In the whole of Wales, 1,237 final and 8,146 interim payments have been made, totalling £38.7 million.
16 Jul 2001 : Column: 33W
In relation to vibration white finger, VWF, IRISC have made 292 final and 366 interim payments amounting to £4 million in the constituency of Cynon Valley. In the whole of Wales, 4,482 final and 3,353 interim payments have been made, totalling £36.8 million.
Mr. Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the legal costs to date are in respect of the claims for (a) chronic bronchitis and emphysema and (b) vibration white finger; and what the expected future costs are. 
Mr. Wilson: Since the Department assumed liability for British Coal's coal health liabilities in 1998, the Department has paid £40.6 million to the plaintiff's legal representatives with respect to respiratory disease. In relation to vibration white finger, VWF, these costs to date have been £32.5 million. Both figures exclude trial costs.
So far, the Department has registered over 153,200 claims and 123,705 for respiratory disease and VWF respectively. Approximately 1,300 new claims continue to be registered each week and it is difficult to estimate the eventual total number of claims and the relevant costs. At the present rate, the Department estimates that future costs of the plaintiffs' legal representatives will be £330.3 million and £92.6 million for respiratory disease and VWF respectively.
Mr. Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what has been the cost of claims settled in respect of (a) chronic bronchitis and emphysema and (b) vibration white finger; and what the anticipated cost is of all outstanding claims. 
Mr. Wilson: Since the Department assumed liability for British Coal's coal health liabilities in 1998, the Department has paid £247.4 million in respect of respiratory disease for damages, costs to plaintiffs and their legal representatives, medical costs and compensation recovery to the Department for Work and Pensions. These costs for vibration white finger, VWF, amount to £359.8 million.
The Department has received over 153,000 claims and 123,700 claims for respiratory disease and VWF respectively. Approximately 1,300 new claims continue to be registered each week and it is difficult to estimate the total number of claims and the relevant costs. At the present rate, the Department estimates that the cost of settling outstanding claims as defined above will be around £2.1 billion and £1.9 billion for respiratory disease and VWF respectively. These are in addition to the above amount already spent.
Paddy Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what evaluation she has made into the claims handling procedures provided by Hays in respect of vibration white finger; what percentage of employment histories are provided within 56 days; and how many have been outstanding for more than (a) six months, (b) nine months and (c) 12 months. 
Mr. Wilson [holding answer 12 July 2001]: British Coal employment records are stored on antiquated microfiche and paper systems. Photocopying them proved very difficult. The Department therefore set up a major project with Hays which involves the scanning of claimants' records. There were some teething problems
16 Jul 2001 : Column: 34W
with this, particularly concerns about image quality of the CDs. These have now been resolved and Hays are producing approximately 5,000 record packs, on CD, each week of which 2,500 are for VWF claims.
There was a backlog of employment record requests before the scanning project got up to speed but this has now been worked through and Hays are currently supplying to IRISC, the Department's claims handling agent, full record packs for individual claimants in approximately two to three weeks. Upon receipt of the records pack IRISC have 40 days to confirm a claimant's occupation, providing the claimant's solicitors has provided a correctly completed claims questionnaire.
Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to her answer of 5 July 2001, Official Report, column 267W, on miners' compensation, what the average duration is between a medical assessment for former miners with (a) vibration white finger and (b) respiratory diseases, and the point at which IRISC are in possession of necessary documents to establish viability and level of compensation claims. 
Mr. Wilson: On vibration white finger, SEMA, the company contracted to deliver the medical assessments, return 95 per cent. of medical reports to IRISC within five days of the claimant having his appointment. Once the report is received, IRISC can assess the validity of the claim and the level of compensation.
On respiratory disease, there are two processes to be completed between a medical assessment and IRISC being able to value the claim. First, IRISC need to evaluate the medical report and secondly, the miner's employment history needs to be agreed.
The employment history details the collieries and jobs that a miner worked in. It is established using any available work records and the statements from the claimant. The time taken to agree these histories with solicitors varies widely from case to case and an average timescale is not available.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the anticipated lifetime is of Oldbury nuclear power station; and what the anticipated peak weight loss is of graphite in major locations in the reactor core at Oldbury by the time it reaches its planned lifetime. 
Mr. Wilson [holding answer 10 July 2001]: I understand that the anticipated operational lifetime of Oldbury nuclear power station is 40 years, i.e. until 2008. However, this is subject to BNFL maintaining the high safety standards at Oldbury required by the HSE's nuclear installations inspectorate and to any operational review by BNFL.
16 Jul 2001 : Column: 35W
Ms Hewitt [holding answer 25 June 2001]: Taking into account conversions of Crown offices to agency offices, which are then classified as sub-post offices, the net annual average rate of sub-post office closures from March 1979 to March 1997 was 196, and from March 1997 to March 2001 it was 351.
David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will place in the Library the guidance, regulations and circulars relating to the levels of service which the Post Office must maintain in rural areas. 
Mr. Alexander: Copies of the licence granted to Consignia plc on 23 March 2001 by the Postal Services Commission (Postcomm) by virtue of section 11 of the Postal Services Act 2000 were placed in the Library of the House in April. Section 4 of the Postal Services Act 2000 lays down the statutory minimum service which must be provided for the universal postal service in the United Kingdom.
I am placing in the Library of the House copies of Postcomm's direction designating exceptional conditions and circumstances (relating to the universal postal service) under condition 1 of Consignia plc's licence.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|