The deadline for miners to claim compensation from the government for respiratory diseases resulting from their employment has expired.

The compensation deadline for sufferers of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease passed on 31 March, with thousands of claims being submitted in the past few weeks.

In early March, the government said it had already paid £2bn in claims to more than 500,000 claimants.

The compensation scheme was establishsed by the government in 1998, along with similar schemes for sufferers of vibration white finger and pneumoconiosis.

In total the compensation bill for all three schemes is expected to top £6bn.