§ Huw Irranca-Davies
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on discussions to reach agreement with coal mining related representatives on the terms of the Claims Handling Agreement. 
§ Mr. Wilson
Discussions between the Department and the claimants group of solicitors to reach agreement with coal mining related representatives on the terms of the Claims Handling Agreement are drawing to a close. The coal mining related representatives have put forward a proposal under the terms of which they are prepared to agree to enter the scheme. The claimants group of solicitors and the Departments legal advisors are currently engaged in an evaluation of the dust records at two of the coal mining related collieries, in order to compare dust exposure pre-and post-privatisation. Subject to the findings of this evaluation, and in addition, a reasonable procedure established for dealing with claims where Chronic Bronchitis has been diagnosed during a period of time where the coal mining related representatives are liable, the coal mining related representatives look set to agree to the Claims Handling Agreement as currently drafted.