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6 Mar 2003 : Column 1184W—continued

Health and Safety Executive

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many investigations of (a) incidents and (b) complaints were carried out by local offices of the Health and Safety Executive in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [97948]

Mr. Nicholas Brown [holding answer 13 February 2003]: The following table shows the number of investigations of incidents and complaints carried out by HSE's operational directorates 1997–98 to 2001–02:



1. 'Incidents' includes injuries, diseases, dangerous occurrences and gas safety incidents.

2. FOD: Field Operations Directorate; HID: Hazardous Installations Directorate;

RI: Railways Inspectorate.

3. The data are not available for all HSE's offices for each year in the form requested. Even where data by office is available it could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

4. The figures do not include details of investigations of incidents at civil nuclear sites as these are not recorded centrally in an easily retrievable form. They could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his Department's hospitality budget (a) is in 2002–03 and (b) was in each of the last three years; and how much was left unspent at the end of each financial year. [99519]

Mr. McCartney: The Department does not allocate specific budgets for hospitality. For the Department's expenditure on hospitality I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws), on the 24 February 2003, Official Report, column 21–22W.

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what hospitality has been offered at public expense in the last 12 months, by each Minister in his Department to outside interest groups, broken down to (a) restaurant, (b) recipient and (c) cost in each case; [99595]

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Mr. McCartney: All offers of hospitality are made in accordance with published departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on the principles set out in Government Accounting. The giving and receiving of hospitality is conducted fully in accordance with the guidance set out in the Ministerial Code, and Guidance on Contacts with Outside Interest Groups including Lobbyists. The detailed information requested is not held centrally, and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Maternity Pay

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his estimate is of the change in statutory maternity pay in real terms from 1995–96 to 2003–04 (planned); what his estimate is of the amount of this benefit received by each decile of the UK income distribution; and if he will make a statement. [97360]

Maria Eagle: Employers pay Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) to employees who meet the qualifying conditions. Currently it is paid for a total of 18 weeks; the first six weeks at a weekly rate equal to 90 per cent. of the woman's average weekly earnings and the remaining 12 weeks at £75.00. For women expecting babies on or after 6 April 2003, the payment period will be extended to 26 weeks. In addition from 6 April 2003, the weekly rate for all women (payable after the first six weeks) will be increased to £100, unless this is more than 90 per cent. of her average weekly earnings, in which case payment continues at the 90 per cent. rate.

The available information is in the table.

Benefit expenditure: Statutory Maternity Pay (GB) 1995–96 to 2003–04

£ million, 2002–03 prices
Estimated outturn

(7) This figure includes a re-statement, by the Government Actuary, of estimated recoveries over preceding years.


1. Reliable estimates of benefit received by decile of income distribution are not available.

2. On average employers are compensated for 93 per cent. of SMP paid to employees. The table does not include the amount for which employers are not compensated.


Benefit expenditure tables, pre-Budget report 2002.

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Minimum Income Guarantee

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his latest estimate is of the cost of minimum income guarantee in the last three years. [100529]

Mr. McCartney: The information is shown in the table below:

£ million

Cash termsReal terms (2002–03)
2000–01 outturn4,0954,288
2001–02 estimated outturn(8)4,4864,598
2002–03 plans4,4704,470

(8) Exenditure for 2001–02 reflects the latest estimate of out turn for the year and not the amounts voted by Parliament.


All estimates are consistent with the PBR2002 forecasts

Pension Forecasts

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have requested a pension forecast more than six months before reaching pensionable age, in each of the last five years for which records are available. [99954]

Mr. McCartney: A customer can obtain a pension forecast until they are within four months of State pension retirement age. The only figures we have available are people who have applied for forecasts who are more than four months from state pension retirement age, rather than six months.

Number of forecasts sent to customers per year

Financial yearNumber of forecasts produced

RPFT have also produced 579,273 forecasts this financial year up to, and including 31 January 2003.


Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his latest estimate is of (a) take-up and (b) administrative cost of Minimum Income Guarantee of pensioners in the last three years. [100528]

Mr. McCartney: The latest available estimate of take-up of Minimum Income Guarantee relates to financial year 1999–2000 and is presented in the DWP report "Income Related Benefits Estimates of Take-up in 1999–2000". A copy of the publication is available in the Library. The next edition of the report containing statistics for 2000–2001 will be released on 27 March 2003.

Information about the administrative cost of the minimum income guarantee is not currently available in the format requested. The Department now accounts for its administration and benefit expenditure by Strategic Objective, as set out in its Public Service

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Agreements (PSA), and by individual Requests for Resources (RfRs), as set out in the Departmental Estimates and Accounts.


Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 13 February

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2003, Official Report, column 967–68W, on pensions, what the median income is of each quintile of the income distribution for pensioners over 80. [99728]

Mr. McCartney: The information requested is in the following table.

The median net income of pensioner units aged 80 and above by quintile of the net income distribution, 2000–01.

Quintiles of the Income distribution
Bottom fifthNext fifthMiddle fifthNext fifthTop fifthOverall mean
Net income before housing costs
Pensioner couples136171211274476282
Single pensioners78107132164231151
Net income after housing costs
Pensioner couples123150184261464262
Single pensioners6185104132198127


1. The estimates are from the Pensioners' Incomes Series 2000–01, which uses data from the Family Resources Survey 2000–01, and is the latest year for which results are available. The survey covers Great Britain and does not include people living in residential care or nursing homes.

2. Incomes are in £ per week and are at 2000–01 prices.

3. Estimates have been rounded to the nearest 1.

4. Single pensioners are defined as single (non-cohabiting) people over state pension age (65 and over for men, 60 and over for women). Pensioner couples are defined as couples (married or cohabiting) where the man is over state pension age.

5. Pensioner units are allocated to an age category according to the age of the head. The head of a couple is defined as the man.

6. The distribution of income is based on unequivalised net income (unequivalised income refers to the actual cash amount directly received by pensioner units), and has been calculated separately under the before and after housing costs measures of income. The distribution of income has also been calculated separately for singles and couples, e.g. estimates for pensioner couples show income for each quintile of the pensioner couples' income distribution.

7. As with data from any survey, these estimates should not be treated as exact as they are subject to sampling error. In particular, great care should be taken when comparing groups with similar incomes since random sampling fluctuations mean that estimates should be regarded as a broad indication of trends only.

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