§ Mr. David
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress is being made to resolve outstanding vibration white finger claims for compensation from former employees of British Coal who have suffered from pre-1975 exposure to vibratory tools and who were employed in a Group 3 occupation. 
§ Nigel Griffiths
There have been lengthy discussions, between the Department and the Claimants Solicitors Group, in an attempt to resolve the areas of pre 1975 exposure to vibratory tools and the treatment of low levels of exposure (which falls below the level identified by the Court of Appeal as that which makes British Coal liable).
Both the Department and the CSG accept that further discussions are unlikely to settle the issues and have invited the Court to rule on these areas. The court hearing has been listed for 15 and 16 April 2004.