Mineworkers' Compensation

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:00 pm on 28th September 2000.

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Photo of Lord McIntosh of Haringey Lord McIntosh of Haringey Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords) 3:00 pm, 28th September 2000

My Lords, my noble friend referred to anger. We are also angry; indeed, Helen Liddell is angry, as am I, about the fact that it is taking so long. The problems that I identified when I answered a similar Question in March have, on the whole, been overcome. Claimants' solicitors are coming forward much more rapidly with claim forms. However, as we get deeper into the programme, we are finding difficulties with doctors who are worried about the Access to Health Records Act 1990 and about the burden on them of producing the records for scanning. That is why, as I indicated in my original Answer, we are simplifying that process. It is a fair comment that perhaps we should have done so before now.

As to my noble friend's last question regarding numbers, there have been something like 117,000 claims, and the number is rising every month. As I said in my first Answer, approximately 25,000 individual payments have so far been made.