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Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the factors responsible for the changes in competitiveness of British manufacturing in the last three years. 
Mr. Wilson: Competitiveness depends on a wide range of factors which we keep under close review. My Department published, in February 2001, its latest assessment of the UK's competitiveness against the world's leading economies in the second edition of the UK Competitiveness Indicators. In addition, we have a rolling programme of sector competitiveness analyses which seek to examine all the factors that may influence the competitiveness of companies in a particular industrial or business sector.
6 Nov 2001 : Column: 162W
Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the impact of the new Electricity Trading Arrangements on the generation of electricity by wind power. 
Ms Hewitt [holding answer 30 October 2001]: The impact of NETA on smaller generators, including renewables such as wind power, was and continues to be of great concern. Ofgem published on 31 August 2001 a report on the impact of NETA on smaller generators, based on the first two months of NETA operation, as well as a report on NETA operation generally.
The Government remain committed to their target for 10 per cent. of electricity sales from licensed suppliers to come from renewables which are eligible for the Renewables Obligation by 2010, subject to the costs being acceptable to the consumer.
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Mr. Wilson: Domestic supplies constitute about 50 per cent. of our current coal use, competing in a diverse and active international market. I believe this market provides a secure and diverse choice of coal supplies in which I would expect UK production to continue to play a significant role.
Mr. Wilson: No formal risk assessment has been made about the potential for disruption to coal supply to the UK. However, the current Coal Aid Code, the European Commission's Security of Supply Green Paper and the Commission proposal for state aid to the coal industry all acknowledge that the geopolitical diversity of coal sources is such that the risks of disruption to supply are minimal.
In terms of a physical threat to coal assets or the freight transport infrastructure, the Government and relevant companies are working with the security services to ensure that the risk of terrorist attack is properly assessed and that appropriate measures are in place to reduce the risk of disruption.
Mr. Wilson: On 25 July 2001, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Council regulation on state aid to the coal industry. There is no specific cap in this proposal. However, to see levels of aid increase on current levels would contradict aims for greater liberalisation in EU markets, and run counter to the commitment given by member states at the Lisbon Council to reduce the level of state aids, shifting the emphasis from supporting individual companies or sectors. The Government would therefore at least like to see payments by each member state capped at the levels of aid it granted in 2001. We are pursuing this objective in Council negotiations.
Mr. Wilson: The European Commission proposal for a Council regulation on state aid to the coal industry beyond 2002 requires aid to be reduced in a "continuous and significant manner". It is very important that this is achieved so that we progress to a liberalised market without aid, and honour the commitment given at the Lisbon Council to reduce the level of state aids. Therefore we would like to see amendments clarifying that the total level of aid which may be granted by any member state must be reduced in a significant manner on a year-by-year basis. We are pursuing this objective in Council negotiations.
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Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) medical examinations by doctors and (b) screening tests by nurses were carried out at Healthcall's screening centre at Grosvenor road in Wrexham in each month between June and September inclusive. 
|Total tested at Wrexham at end September||480|
|Total tested at Wrexham at end September||197|
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many compensation claims made by miners suffering from vibration white finger and mining-related lung diseases are still waiting to be processed; and how many of the claimants in this group have received an interim payment, in Bassetlaw constituency. 
Mr. Wilson: In the Bassetlaw constituency, with regards to Vibration White Finger, VWF, there have been 4,153 claims registered to date, 1,355 interims have been made and 877 full and final payments have been made. The total amount paid in damages is £14.2 million.
In relation to respiratory disease, 3,602 claims have been initiated in the Bassetlaw constituency. There have been 609 interim payments and 264 full and final payments have been made. The total amount paid in damages is £3.7 million.
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many compensation payments to sick miners and their dependants for (a) vibration white finger and (b) respiratory diseases have been made by means of
6 Nov 2001 : Column: 165W
(i) fast track settlements and (ii) full settlements, broken down by parliamentary constituency. 
Mr. Wilson: The information is not yet available in the format requested. The Department is working closely with its claims handlers to produce a breakdown of headline statistics by parliamentary constituency for both respiratory diseases and vibration white finger. It is anticipated that the information will be available on the Department's coal health website www.dti.gov.uk/ coalhealthin the next three to four weeks.
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Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) claims were received in respect of respiratory disease, (b) interim and expedited awards were made in respect of respiratory disease broken down by (i) number and (ii) value, (c) claims were received in respect of vibration white finger and (d) interim and general damage awards were made in respect of vibration white finger by (A) number and (B) value, broken down by region. 
|Vibration White Finger|
|Number of claims||16,812||8,297||22,377||41,292||19,983||4,232||12,783||1,987|
|Number of payments||3,869||2,562||6,642||12,357||7,263||1,204||3,014||488|
|Value of payments (£ million)||20.3||12.8||36.6||70.8||44.8||5.6||15.2||2.8|
|Total number of general damages settlements||5.097||2,619||4,773||7,925||5,222||1,118||2,054||379|
|Value of settlements (£ million)||24.0||11.5||31.0||43.6||34.2||4.1||9.3||1.6|
|Number of claims||34,497||12,837||20,706||43,477||23,615||8,829||15,552||3,942|
|Interim paymentspost spirometry and post MAP|
|Number of payments||8,733||3,280||3,679||8,621||4,906||1,837||4,071||843|
|Value of payments (£ million)||35.8||13.3||13.2||32.8||20.8||7.0||14.2||3.3|
|Expedited payments post spirometry|
|Total number of expedited offers made||2,235||1,576||2,033||4,965||2,238||946||1,799||422|
|Value of payments (£ million)||6.1||5.7||7.4||17.9||6.8||3.5||7.0||12.9|
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many claims her Department has received in respect of respiratory disease; in respect of how many claims spirometry has been completed; in how many claims a medical assessment process has been started; and in how many claims a medical assessment process has been completed, in the last four years. 
IRISC, the Department's claims handlers, have registered 167,559 claims, to date, of which 104,783 are from live claimants. In total, 97,880 appointments have been made and of these, 92,272 claimants have undergone the initial spirometry test.
Both claims from miners and their estates can proceed through the full Medical Assessment Process, MAP. There have been 123,641 claims questionnaires and mandate packs, which authorise access to claimants' medical records, issued by IRISC to claimants' solicitors, of which 85,591 have been returned. The number of claimants who have undergone the medical assessment is 43,390.
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