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Volume 300: debated on Monday 10 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what estimate he has made of (a) the likely total cost of the compensation scheme under the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 and (b) the number of claims still to be made; [14811](2) what is the average time taken to settle claims for compensation under options (i) A and (ii) B under the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997; and in each case, how many claims have been settled and what is the total value of the compensation paid to date. [14810]

Our estimate of the total cost of the compensation scheme remains £166 million. All claims had to have been made by the end of the surrender period on 30 September. Over 38,000 claims have been received in the Firearms Compensation Section from police forces. The average time to settle claims under both options A and B is currently 13 weeks.To date, 15,000 payments have been made at a cost of over £20 million.