£400m Compensation payout for Welsh minersSeptember 1, 2010
Nearly £400m has been awarded to the ex-miners and their families whose health has been affected as a result of working in the mines of Wales.
Almost £284m has been granted for respiratory claims such as pneumoconiosis, caused by inhaling coal dust for prolonged periods and a further £103m for vibration white finger, caused by continuous use of vibrating hand machinery. Both diseases arise from working in the mines.
Union officials claim there are still thousands of people in Wales who are eligible to apply for compensation and urge them to claim before the current deadline of March 31.
Bleddyn Hancock from the union Nacods said that although the current payouts are good news there are still an estimated further 100,000 possible claims yet to be made. He is urging people to come forward. Claims can still be made by children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces.
Don Touhig, the Welsh Office Minister who announced the latest payout figures said: “In total, 35,000 claims have been settled under the two schemes in Wales in what is the biggest civil compensation scheme ever in the world.” He also said “Our priority is and always has been to pay compensation to the oldest miners, those most ill and the widows. I am glad to say that the overwhelming majority of these people have now received offers.”
However there is still an ongoing dispute over the thousands of claims made by colliery surface workers. Under existing arrangements they are entitled to nothing, although many of the people who worked on the surface have also died of pneumoconiosis. Mr Touhig stated that the current arrangement was scandalous. He also queried why a Vibration Reference Panel established in 2002 had not yet dealt with any of these disputed claims, of which many were in Wales, with only just over half of the 21,000 claims for vibration white finger compensation having been settled.
The deadline passed last March for claims made for vibration white finger compensation when the condition arose as a result of working with industrial tools.