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Mr. Page: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many sub-post offices in which Horizon equipment had been installed have closed; and if he will place in the Library the monthly cumulative total of such closures. 
Mr. Alan Johnson: In the light of the Performance and Innovation Unit report on modernising the post office network, the Post Office is revising its methods of collating and reporting information on the network to supply to the Postal Services Commission. The Post
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Office is currently agreeing with the Commission a process and format for reporting such information quarterly.
Mr. Alan Johnson [holding answer 15 December 2000]: Horizon is being supplied to the Post Office by ICL Pathway as a managed service. I understand from the Post Office that Horizon installation costs are not allocated on an individual office basis.
Mrs. Liddell: I am not able to provide specific time scales for the East Kent coalfield. However, given the number of claimants--130,000 nationwide--it will take at least three years to settle the last of these claims. This must be set against 15 years or more it would take if each case were dealt with on an individual basis through the courts.
Mr. Prosser: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to speed up the settlement of claims for ex-miners seeking compensation for respiratory disease and vibration white finger. 
Mrs. Liddell: Progress in dealing with claims for respiratory disease must be speeded up. To tackle this, our contractors have increased the numbers of medical testing centres and record scanning teams, and are urgently seeking to recruit more doctors. A review and change has taken place resulting in how doctors are used and paid. We are also seeking to streamline the medical assessment process. These proposals are being taken forward with the claimants' solicitors.
In September, I announced new fast-track proposals of higher expedited offers for those who have already had such an offer and also for new classes of claimants. This is now completed and it has generated over 15,200 offers worth £74 million.
On vibration white finger, initial assessments on all the existing claimants will be complied by the end of next year. A further assessment may be required for those claimants seeking compensation for loss of services, but this is still under consideration.
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Mr. Prosser: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many ex-miners from the East Kent coalfield have died while waiting for settlement of their compensation claims for (a) respiratory disease and (b) vibration white finger in the last five years. 
Mrs. Liddell: The Department's claim handling agents have registered a total of 61 claims by former miners in the East Kent coalfields who have died in the last five years, and where the date of death is after the date of claim. Of these, 52 were claiming for respiratory disease and nine were claiming for vibration white finger.
In all these cases, the claims will be continued by the claimant's widow or dependants. In addition, where the claimant's death certificate shows that one of the respiratory diseases for which British Coal were found liable either caused or materially contributed to the death, the Department will also make a bereavement award to the claimant's widow. To date, the Department has made 37 bereavement awards to widows in the East Kent coalfields.
Mr. Prosser: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many claims have been (a) made and (b) settled by ex-miners from the east Kent coalfield for compensation for (i) respiratory disease and (ii) vibration white finger in the last five years. 
Mrs. Liddell: In the last five years, the Department has registered 947 claims for respiratory disease from ex-miners and their families in the east Kent coalfields. In addition, some 1,073 claims have been registered for vibration white finger.
In addition, the Department is making interim payments wherever possible and in the east Kent coalfields has made some 343 payments to respiratory claimants, a further 164 payments have been to vibration white finger claimants.
Mr. Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the pollution incidents involving discharges above 0.01 tonnes in the Irish sea since 28 July, indicating the date, the size of the incident, the name of the company that reported the spill and the name of the company responsible in each case. 
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flights were taken by Ministers within his Department for UK and overseas visits in each year since 1995; on how many occasions (a) charter flights were used and (b) first and club class tickets obtained; and who accompanied the Ministers on each trip. 
Mr. Byers [holding answer 21 December 2000]: Ministers are under a duty to make efficient and cost-effective travel arrangements. This Government have given a commitment to publish an annual list of visits overseas by Cabinet Ministers costing more than £500, as well as an annual figure on spend by all Ministers on overseas visits. The list for 1999-2000 was published on 28 July 2000, Official Report, column 969W.
Mr. Alan Johnson: The platform of economic stability and steady growth we have established, together with policies to help firms to invest, to innovate and to grow, are the best way to secure the long-term success of UK manufacturing.
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received from Corus on redundancies at the Llanwern plant in South Wales; and if he will place a summary of them in the Library. 
Mr. Alan Johnson: Ministers and officials have close and regular contact with Corus on a range of issues and will continue to do so. It would not be appropriate to place a summary of such representations in the Library since they will include commercially confidential matters.
Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the extra funding required by local authorities to enable them to provide online services in libraries. 
Mr. Alan Howarth: The £100 million funding from the New Opportunities Fund (NOF) will enable all public libraries in the UK to offer online services by 2002 and a further £20 million has been provided for ICT training for librarians. We have made no estimate of the cost of sustaining these services though each library authority will have to do so as part of their bid to the NOF and to demonstrate that they can meet it.
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