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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of senior civil servants in his Department have signed waivers to work voluntarily more than 48 hours a week; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Byers: The figures published in the DTI's March Expenditure Plans Report show DTI actual staff numbers of 9,640 in 1996-97 and an estimated figure of 10,324 for 2000-01 . This represents an increase of 684 staff (or 7 per cent.) over four years, principally reflecting caseload increases in demand-led activities:
ACAS, a Non-Departmental Public Body which by convention counts towards DTI's staff numbers although it is not part of DTI. Staff numbers have increased by 210 (or 34 per cent.) from 614 in 1996-97 to 824 in 2000-01. Over the same period, caseloads have increased significantly with the number of individual conciliation cases received--one of ACAS's principal activities--rising by 45 per cent. from 77,481 to an estimated 112,000 and the number of inquiries handled growing by 71 per cent. from 439,943 to an estimated 753,000.
The Employment Tribunal Service, a DTI agency. Staff have increased by 91 (or 15 per cent.) from 621 in 1996-97 to 712 in 2000-01. Over the same period, employment tribunal applications rose by 46 per cent. from 88,910 to an estimated 130,000.
The Patent Office, a Trading Fund agency which meets all its outgoings from receipts. Staff numbers have increased by 167 (or 23 per cent.) from 729 in 1996-97 to 896 in 2000-01. Over the same period, caseloads in the agency's main areas of work grew significantly. Between the calendar years 1996 and 2000, patent applications
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increased by 15.7 per cent. from 27,143 to 31,412 while trade mark applications (including for additional classes) rose by 41.2 per cent. from 71,463 to 100,902.
Nearly all of the remainder is accounted for by an increase of 141 staff across the Department's headquarters and central services and the Small Business Service. The paybill has fallen by 4.6 per cent. in real terms between 1996-97 and the estimate for 2000-01, from £239 million in 1996-97 to £251 million estimated for 2000-01.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will publish the assessment his Department made of the BNFL economic case for the Sellafield MOX Plant, on which the departmental letter of endorsement included in the current public consultation documentation is based. 
Mr. Hain: The Department endorsed on 22 March the second MOX market review prepared by BNFL for DETR. As noted in the consultation document published by DETR and the Department of Health on 28 March, the Department took into account advice from the FCO on the content of that market review, since it related to the major overseas customers who have had plutonium separated from spent fuel at Sellafield. That FCO advice is available from DETR as part of the consultation process.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information he has received from the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission in respect of proposals to use United Kingdom-origin plutonium in United States lead test assemblies for MOX plutonium-based fuels. 
Mr. Hain: The Department is aware that the official transcript of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission for 2 February referred to such a proposal, which has also been reported in the specialist media. We understand this option was being considered by the US Administration. The Government have not been formally approached by the US Administration about the matter.
Dr. Godman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many payments under the compensation scheme for former trawlermen who fished in Icelandic waters have been made; what has been the average payment; how many applications for such payments have
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been turned down; how many have subsequently been paid following a successful appeal; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Byers [holding answer 2 May 2001]: The most recent figures show 1,286 payments have been made under the compensation scheme and the average payment made has been £11,993. A total of 289 claims have been rejected and a further 2,173 duplicate claims have been identified.
Mr. Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department is taking to help identify former British Coal canteen workers and cleaners in order that they may receive their equal pay compensation awards. 
Mr. Hain: Former British Coal canteen workers and cleaners eligible to receive an award are already identified. They are those whose claims were lodged with the Employment Tribunal by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in the period 1985-1992.
Mr. Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many former canteen workers and cleaners of British Coal have been identified as qualifying for an equal pay award under the recently resolved agreement. 
Mr. Hain: There are 1,327 former British Coal canteen workers and cleaners whose equal value claim was lodged with the Employment Tribunal by the National Union of Mineworkers in the period 1985-92 who qualify for an award.
Mr. Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects former canteen workers and cleaners of British Coal to receive their recently agreed award for compensation under the equal pay agreement. 
Mr. Mudie: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will publish the results of the consultations carried out last year on the proposals to change employment tribunal cost rules. 
Mr. Alan Johnson: My officials held informal discussions with a range of organisations last year concerning employment tribunal rules of procedure. I have no plans to publish the outcome of those discussions.
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Mr. Hain: With regards to vibration white finger, the Department is not yet able to make full and final offers in many cases as there are some elements of compensation (for example, claims for loss of services) that still have to be agreed with the miners' solicitors. However, interim payments are made in the meantime in respect of general damages. The average payment after medical assessment is £6,828. The average payment across all full and final and interim payments is £5,790.
In relation to compensation for respiratory disease, the average settlement is £4,982. However, this mainly reflects Expedited Offers paid on the basis of spirometry results which account for the large majority of settlements to date.
There have been 5,025 interim payments made, averaging £3,000 based on spirometry results. The Department has also paid 5,521 bereavement awards, averaging £8,200 and 14,764 payments of £2,000 to claimants who have received Industrial Injuries Benefit for Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema. The average payment across all full and final payments and interim payments is £3,914.
In respect of respiratory disease, 31,188 individual payments, including interims and full and final settlements, have been paid to former miners, totalling £98.2 million. In addition, there have been 5,521 bereavement awards totalling £45.5 million.
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