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Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if he will break down by law firmthe number of service claims made (a) as a total for each firm and (b) as a percentage of their case holding; 
Malcolm Wicks: Vendside Ltd have not submitted any miners' hearing loss claims. The Union of Democratic Mineworkers has been paid £23.7 million in damages for those claimants it represented at an average of £2,707 per claim.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on what date the first claim for (a) hearing loss, (b) beat knee and (c) industrial accident was registered with his Department by (i) Vendside Ltd and (ii) the Union of Democratic Mineworkers. 
Malcolm Wicks: The UDM first registered a hearing loss claim on 3 June 1997 and a beat knee claim on 9 January 2003. The UDM have not submitted any industrial accident claims and Vendside Ltd have not submitted any claims for any of these types.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the average hearing loss settlement paid to miners has been since 1997 in claims submitted by the 20 solicitors' firms which have submitted most claims; what percentage this represented of the total claims submitted; and what the average amount of fees paid in costs has been. 
Claims from the 20 solicitors' firms who have submitted the most hearing loss claims represent 81 per cent. of the total number submitted. The average settlement in claims handled by these firms is £2,377 and the average cost is £794.
2 Dec 2005 : Column 891W
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which 20 solicitors' firms or others have registered the greatest numbers of miners' hearing loss claims with his Department; and how many claims each has registered. 
|Firm||Number of claims|
|Union of Democratic Mineworkers||10,166|
|Browell Smith and Co||1,904|
|Ashton Morton Slack Solicitors||881|
|Kidd and Spoor Harper Solicitors||827|
|O. H. Parsons and Partners Solicitors||743|
|Irwin Mitchell Solicitors||625|
|Watson Burton LLP||470|
|Meloy Whittle Robinson||469|
|Latham and Company Solicitors||403|
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many common law claims have been registered with his Department since 1998 by the Union of Democratic Mineworkers, excluding those registered by Vendside Ltd. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Department makes payments to claimants' representatives in hearing loss claims, including, where appropriate, payment for arranging hearing loss tests. The extent to which those representatives use parties such as Melex Ltd. is a matter for them. The Department has had no direct dealings with Melex Ltd. at any time.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what hourly rate is paid to Vendside Ltd for work on claims for (a) vibration white finger, (b) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and (c) hearing loss. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Department do not pay Vendside Ltd an hourly rate for handling claims. Claim handling costs for successful claims are met according to handling agreements for vibration white finger and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Vendside Ltd have not submitted any claims for hearing loss.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what evidence of insurance indemnity has been provided to (a) his Department and (b) its insurers by (i) the Union of Democratic Mineworkers and (ii) Vendside Ltd for (A) beat knee, (B) industrial accident claims and (C) hearing loss claims in the mining industry. 
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many miners hearing loss claims submitted by (a) Vendside and (b) others since 1997 have required a second medical examination. 
Malcolm Wicks: Vendside have not submitted any miners hearing loss claims. Since 1997, 758 claimants have required a second medical examination, of which 40 were represented by the Union of Democratic Mineworkers.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the claims handlers officials in his Department have met since 1997 to discuss mining hearing loss and knee claims. 
Malcolm Wicks: No meetings have been held with officials, although the Department's contractors have met representatives from solicitors firms and the Union of Democratic Mineworkers to discuss hearing loss and knee injury claims.
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