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Last Updated: Friday, 12 November, 2004, 11:36 GMT
New cash offer for miners' widows
Miners
Many miners suffered health problems
Plans to make it easier for miners' widows and families to get compensation have been unveiled.

Ministers have offered to wave a requirement for medical evidence of respiratory illness for miners who died 20 years ago or more.

Qualifying miners' widows could now get 1,300 or their next of kin 1,000.

Minister Nigel Griffiths said the offer was a "pragmatic solution" helping relatives gain access to compensation more quickly.

In excess of 780,000 claims have been made under two compensation schemes covering vibration white finger and respiratory diseases.

Struggle

Payouts so far total 2.2bn, with 2m being paid out each working day in the biggest compensation scheme in history. It is estimated the eventual cost of the scheme will be 8bn.

Mr Griffiths said: "At the moment, even the best respiratory specialists in the UK are struggling to assess compensation for respiratory disease where it is not mentioned on the death certificate, there are no medical or work records and family knowledge is limited.

"Our proposals provide a pragmatic solution to this problem while offering relatives a much faster payout."

Although full assessments remained an option, Mr Griffiths warned there was no guarantee a subsequent compensation offer would match the one on offer.




SEE ALSO:
Lawyers accused over coal claims
03 Mar 04 |  South Yorkshire
Miners 'should get fees back'
12 Dec 03 |  Nottinghamshire
Miners welcome compensation deal
06 Oct 03 |  Nottinghamshire


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