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Married Women

(Reduced National Insurance Rate)

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will place in the Library a copy of leaflets produced by his Department in the late 1980s which offered guidance to married women on whether to revoke their election to pay a reduced rate of national insurance contributions. [120096]

Dawn Primarolo: I have been asked to reply.

The following leaflets have been placed in the Library:

NI1 "National Insurance Choices for Married Women" August 1989.
NP.32B "Retirement benefits for married women" revised July 1986.

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make it his policy to compensate married women who received inaccurate advice from his Department about whether to revoke their decision to pay a reduced rate of national insurance contributions following the reform of national insurance contributions in 1989, and who as a result are receiving a lower rate of retirement pension. [120095]

Dawn Primarolo: In 1989, the Department of Social Security ran a publicity campaign to inform lower-paid women that they could be paying more in reduced-rate National Insurance contributions than if they paid at the standard rate because of structural changes to National Insurance contributions introduced in October that year. They were also reminded that they could revoke their elections to pay the married women's reduced rate if they wish to do so.


Ministerial Visit (Lewes)

Q9. Mr. Baker: To ask the Prime Minister what plans he has to visit the Lewes constituency. [120468]

The Prime Minister: I have no immediate plans to do so.

Social Exclusion Unit

Mr. Edwards: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement about the work of the Social Exclusion Unit. [120434]

The Prime Minister: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire (Mr. Lansley) on 3 May 2000, Official Report, columns 110-11W.

10 May 2000 : Column: 420W


Sir Peter Tapsell: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Wednesday 10 May. [121230]

The Prime Minister: This morning I had meetings with Ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I will have further such meetings later today.


Capital Investment

Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the level of capital investment in (a) oil and gas extraction, (b) other energy and water supply, (c) manufacturing, (d) distribution, (e) hotel and catering, (f) financial business services, (g) transport, (h) communications and (i) private dwellings since 1988. [120242]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Director of the Office for National Statistics. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from John Kidgell to Mr. Alan Simpson, dated 10 May 2000:

The Director of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has been asked to reply to your recent question on levels of capital investment since 1988. I am replying in the Director's absence.
Due to the introduction of a new European System of Accounts (ESA 95) the production of data on capital investment by industry has been postponed. The publication of these data is planned for the end of this year. The only information available is on investment in private (personal sector) dwellings and business investment in manufacturing industry (from 1994 only), which is given below (in £ million).

ManufacturingPrivate dwellings

National Debt

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish for each year since 1970, the level of the United Kingdom national debt (a) in actual terms, (b) in constant money terms and (c) as a proportion of gross national product; and if he will publish, on the same basis, a projection of these figures for the next five years. [121197]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The table gives the figures requested.

10 May 2000 : Column: 421W

Table 1--Public sector net debt

£ billion% GDP1998-99 prices


Figures for public sector net debt in £ billion and as a per cent. of GDP up to 1999-2000 are outturns. Figures for 2000-01 onwards are the Budget 2000 forecasts. The estimate of public sector net debt in 1998-99 prices for 1999-2000 is based on the Budget forecast of the GDP deflator for 1999-2000.


Tables C3, C4 and C5, Budget 2000 and the Office for National Statistics.

Financial Services Access

Mr. Goggins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he is taking to encourage better access to financial services for low income households. [120452]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The general theme of the Treasury Policy Action Team (PAT 14) report on "Access to Financial Services" is that tackling financial exclusion requires the development of new financial services products and new ways to access them. There is no single solution: diversity and choice are the watchwords.

The Government have made clear their expectation that the banks and building societies will play their part in combating financial exclusion. In particular a number of banks already offer basic bank accounts with no overdrafts and no charges which are suitable for those on low incomes. All Banks have been asked to provide such accounts by October. The Post Office also has a key role to play in delivering a range of banking services. The Government are contributing almost £500 million to the capital costs of computerisation of the Post Office network. A number of banks and building societies have formed partnerships with the Post Office.

10 May 2000 : Column: 422W

On 16 November 1999, I announced moves to boost credit unions which will provide a new central services organisation and changes to the regulation of credit unions to help them to deliver a more consistent and flexible service to their members.

Minimum Wage

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of households he estimates have gained from the minimum wage in each income decile; how much the average gain has been to (a) each earner and (b) each household in each income decile (i) in absolute terms and (ii) as a proportion of income; by what method his estimates were made; and if he will make a statement. [119827]

Dawn Primarolo: Collating this information requires complex technical modelling. I will write to the hon. Member with the relevant information as soon as possible placing a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Integrated Child Credit

Mr. MacShane: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the integrated child credit were to be introduced on the basis of the illustrative structure shown in chart 2.6 of Tackling Poverty and Making Work Pay-Tax Credits for the 21 Century, how many children he estimates would be in families drawing (i) income support/JSA and the integrated child credit, (ii) employment tax credit and the integrated child credit, (iii) the integrated child credit only including the WFTC child credit element, and (iv) the integrated child credit only including the children's tax credit element only, including child benefit in all cases. [120392]

Dawn Primarolo: No estimates have been made of the number of families in these categories. The numbers in each group will depend on the detailed design of the integrated child credit and employment tax credit, on which decisions have not yet been taken as well as take-up. The table sets out estimates of the number of dependent children in families in receipt of either Income Support of income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Working Families and Disabled Person's Tax Credit or only getting the Children's Tax Credit in 2001.

Benefit/Tax CreditNumber of children
Income Support or income-based JSA
Working Families or Disabled Person's Tax Credit
Children's Tax Credit only6

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