§ 29. Mr. Ronnie Campbell
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress he has made in meeting retired miners health-related compensation claims. 
§ Mrs. Liddell
The Handling Agreement for settling claims for respiratory disease were formally signed in September last year. To date we have received around 108,000 claims. So far over 52,000 spirometry tests, the first part of the medical tests, have been carried out. A further 12,000 appointments have been made at 34 centres nationwide. Together this represents over 90 per cent. of the total live claims received. Over 9,000 claimants have received full and final offers based on their spirometry result; of these 2,600 have been accepted. The remainder will progress to the full MAP.
The full Medical Assessment Process, the second part of the tests, began in December. Healthcall, the Department's contractors, now have 26 centres operational. Initially some GPs and hospitals were uncertain about releasing the miners' medical records which are essential prior to making a MAP appointment. However we are now making appointments at a rate of 2,000 a month. We expect this to rise into the autumn. To date the Department has made damages payments totalling in excess of £63 million.
We signed the Handling Arrangement for settling claims for Vibration White Finger in January last year. To date we have received some 80,000 claims. Nearly 15,000 claims have been settled, with damages totalling nearly £130 million.
§ Mrs. Liddell
In the Barnsley and Mexborough area, as at 10 July, the Department has lodged some 4,000 claims for vibration white finger and 5,200 for respiratory disease from former miners and their families. IRISC, the Department's claim handling agents, are not able to provide a breakdown for Barnsley, East.616W
To date in the Barnsley and Mexborough area the Department has made general damages payments in interim and full and final settlement for both diseases totalling over £10 million.