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4 Jun 2007 : Column 56W—continued

Electronic Equipment: Waste Disposal

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what his policy is on responsibility for the disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment where a company providing a membership scheme for that service goes into liquidation prior to the relevant equipment reaching end of life. [139659]

Malcolm Wicks: Under the WEEE Regulations (Regulation 10) where a scheme no longer exists the obligations to finance the collection treatment and reprocessing of WEEE will revert to the producer. The producer will have 28 days to join an alternative scheme.

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the (a) annual and (b) membership fees charged to companies by the Department in connection with the enforcement of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive. [139660]

Malcolm Wicks: Under the WEEE Regulations producers of electrical and electronic equipment are required to register with the environment authorities. These fees are tiered to represent the size of the producer, to ensure the cost to SMEs are proportionate. These fees do not cover enforcement costs which are met by the Department of Trade and Industry.

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what provisions the Department has
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negotiated with companies establishing membership schemes with advance fees for the disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment to ensure that funds will remain available to meet the costs of disposal when the equipment reaches end of life. [139661]

Malcolm Wicks: Under the WEEE Regulations the issue of membership fees is a commercial matter between Producer Compliance Schemes and producers. Producer Compliance Schemes are however required under the regulations to ensure they have sufficient resources to fully discharge the obligation of their members.

Galileo Project

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the financial implications of the UK's involvement with the Galileo project. [139734]

Dr. Ladyman: I have been asked to reply and will answer this question shortly.

Industrial Diseases: Compensation

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to agree procedures for coal industry compensation claims where the Medical Disputes Procedure has been completed but subsequently further medical evidence has been obtained. [138414]

Malcolm Wicks: Such procedures (the Protocol for Collection of Additional Medical Records) have been in operation since 2003 for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. For vibration white finger services, similar procedures have been in place since 2006.

Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) former miners and (b) members of families of former miners in (i) North Staffordshire, (ii) Newcastle-under-Lyme and (iii) the UK have (A) made claims, (B) received interim payments and (C) accepted final settlements in respect of compensation for (1) chronic bronchitis and emphysema or other respiratory diseases, (2) vibration white finger, (3) carpal tunnel syndrome and (4) pneumoconiosis; how much has been paid in respect of each category; and how many claims of each type in each area have yet to be settled in full. [138817]

Margaret Hodge: Pursuant to the answer given on 23 May 2007, Official Report, column 1351. The entry in the table under VWF claims: the total number for claimants who have received an interim payment should read 64,868 and not 66,868.

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many outstanding claims there are in relation to (a) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and (b) vibration white finger for (i) living and (ii) deceased miners in Bassetlaw handled by (A) VDM/Vendside and (B) others. [138824]

Malcolm Wicks: The outstanding claims for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and vibration
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white finger (VWF) of living and deceased miners in Bassetlaw are broken down as requested in the following table:

Living Deceased Total

COPD

Total outstanding claims

755

902

1,657

Registered to UDM/Venside

127

15

142

VWF

Total outstanding Claims

529

59

588

Registered to UDM/Venside

53

18

71


John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many miners and former miners have died before settlement of (a) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and (b) vibration white finger compensation claims. [138825]

Malcolm Wicks: The numbers of miners and former miners who have died while waiting for settlement of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and for vibration white finger compensations are shown in the following table:

Settled claims Outstanding claims Total

COPD

18,266

7,042

25,308

VWF

6,941

1,370

8,311

Total

25,207

8,412

33,619


John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many miners’ compensation claims have been paid in part or in full by (a) the UDM, (b) Kidd and Spoor Harper, (c) Frank Allen Pennington, (d) Watson Burton, (e) Robinson King and (f) Oxley and Coward, broken down by parliamentary constituency. [139270]

Malcolm Wicks: A spreadsheet showing the number of miners’ who have been paid compensation in part or full by those firms who handled their claims, as requested, and broken down by constituency, has been placed in the Library of the House.

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to commence the pilot with the Law Society on advice for miners on complaints options for double-charging for industrial disease compensation. [139655]

Malcolm Wicks: The Department is currently working with the Legal Complaints Service and Legal Services Ombudsman to take the pilot exercise forward in the coming weeks.

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which 30 firms of solicitors have handled the greatest ill-health compensation cases settled via the fast-track for miners’ compensation. [139656]


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Malcolm Wicks: The 30 firms who have settled most claims through the fast-track options are shown in the following table:

Claimants’ representative Claims settled by fast-track

Beresfords Solicitors

23,671

Avalon Solicitors

13,546

Hugh James

10,105

Raleys Solicitors

9,819

Thompsons Solicitors

9,059

Browell Smith and Co.

7,664

Barber and Co.

5,556

Union of Democratic Mineworkers

4,653

Watson Burton LLP

4,223

Delta Legal

4,191

Graysons Solicitors

3,220

Ashton Morton Slack LLP

3,001

BRM Solicitors

2,553

Randell Lloyd Jenkins and Martin

2,109

Ingrams Solicitors

1,907

Corries York

1,900

Mark Gilbert Morse

1,890

Hilary Meredith Solicitors

1,742

The Legal Warehouse

1,726

Gorman Hamilton Solicitors

1,573

Moss Solicitors

1,409

Corries Solicitors

1,314

Kidd and Spoor Harper Solicitors

1,215

Birchall Blackburn

1,079

1 Legal Solicitors

1,027

Onyems and Partners

1,011

Bailey Bravo Jobling

932

Recompense Ltd.

812

Towells Solicitors

760

Wake Smith

742


Judgments

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the implications for (a) public policy and (b) the public purse of judgment in the Myatt v. NCB case. [139201]

Malcolm Wicks: We have not made a formal assessment. However, we were aware that significant savings on costs were at stake. One of the main drivers was to address bad practice by firms who were seeking to offload unrecoverable costs. We were similarly aware that some claimants would benefit from having costs claims struck down.

The implications of ‘Myatt’ on Conditional Fee Agreement litigation in the UK has been profound. It is a ground breaking case which has caused major problems for claimants firms who do not follow the Conditional Fee Agreement and ‘After The Event’ insurance regulatory regime. That regime was put in place as a limited exemption to the right of solicitors to profit from litigation directly. Parliament chose to tightly draw the acceptable bounds of that regime for reasons of public policy. ‘Myatt’ is one of the cases that reinforces the boundaries beyond which solicitors should not go.


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Low Carbon Buildings Programme

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on what date the domestic stream of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme will end. [138079]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 21 May 2007]: The Low Carbon Buildings Programme was launched in April 2006 with a £30 million budget. In the Budget 07, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor announced that a further £6 million would be made available to the household stream of the programme, taking the total available including management fees to £18.7 million.

Since the Budget announcement, we took the decision to suspend the scheme as this provided an opportunity to consult key stakeholders on a re-structured scheme that better met the needs of industry and applicants alike. We have implemented changes that include the removal of the monthly cap. With the increased flexibility that removing the monthly cap provides, we cannot predict demand with certainty. We hope these changes will allow us to reach a wider audience. We will continue to monitor and report on grant commitments and payments. However, once the funds are allocated, this form of grant support will cease.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for what reasons further support for the domestic stream of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme is not being offered; and if he will make a statement. [138080]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 21 May 2007]: In the Budget 07, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor announced that a further £6 million would be made available to the household stream of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme, taking the total available including management fees to £18.7 million.

We re-launched the household stream on 29 May 2007, having made a number of changes to the programme. We believe these changes will allow us to reach a wider audience, and demonstrate the potential of micro generation to a greater number of households. We will continue to monitor and report on grant commitments and payments. However, once the funds are fully allocated, this form of grant support will cease.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the reasons were for each of the reductions in domestic grant support for solar photovoltaics under the Low Carbon Buildings Programme; and if he will make a statement. [138081]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 21 May 2007]: When we launched the Low Carbon Buildings Programme in April 2006, we always intended to review grant levels at the end of the first year. After discussions with industry, we took the decision to reduce the grant level for solar photovoltaics from a maximum of £3,000 per kWp to a maximum of £2,000 per kWp installed. This measure, along with the introduction of a £2,500 cap per household will allow us to use the limited funds available to support an increased number of microgeneration installations, which is a fundamental aim of a demonstration programme such as this.


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