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Thompsons Solicitors has received a £17m payout from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for its work on emphysema and vibration white finger (VWF) claims
Thompsons represents miners suffering from the conditions and is instructed by their union. Last year the firm's turnover was £33m. The DTI recently paid a total of £789m in compensation to sufferers of the coal-related diseases. As part of the compensation package, it paid £65m in costs directly to the sufferers' law firms. The DTI has paid Cardiff firm Hugh James Ford Simey a total of £11m for its work for the miners. Four-partner Newcastle firm Browell Smith & Co was paid £7.8m. Barnsley solicitors Raleys, which acts for miners and ex-miners in North Yorkshire, received £7.6m. Graysons received £4.2m and Watson Burton received £3.5m. The firms have been involved in two separate compensation schemes for sufferers set up by the DTI. The VWF scheme was set up in 1996, while the emphysema scheme was established in 1998. Thompsons has been working on both programmes since those dates. Thompsons has been handling up to 30,000 claims a week from miners and ex-miners. As part of the compensation package, it has secured a £50m payout for miners and ex-miners in the North East. Irwin Mitchell, Mark Gilbert Morse and Randell Saunders were paid by the DTI for handling emphysema claims. They were paid £2.3m, £700,000 and £500,000 respectively. Moss, AMS Law and Towells handled only VWF claims. They received £1.5m, £1.4m and £1.1m respectively from the DTI. The figures come from a Parliamentary written answer.