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Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) average wage and (b) median wage for (i) men and (ii) women has been in each year since 2001 in (A) Northern Ireland and (B) England. 
John Healey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.
Letter from Karen Dunnell to Mr. Peter Robinson, dated 21 October 2005:
As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question what the (a) average wage and (b) median wage for (i) men and (ii) women has been in each year since 2001 in (A) Northern Ireland and (B) England. (19417)
Currently average earnings are estimated from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), and are provided for full time employees on adult rates of pay whose pay was unaffected by absence during the pay period. This is the standard definition used for ASHE. The ASHE does not collect data on the self employed and people who do unpaid work.
I attach a table showing the Average Gross Weekly Earnings for full time males and females in each year since 2001 for both England and Northern Ireland.
The ASHE, carried out in April of each year, is the most comprehensive source of earnings information in the United Kingdom. It is a one per cent sample of all employees who are members of pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) schemes.
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Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the likely impact on (a) jobs and (b) the economy in the UK of the proposal to charge VAT on insurance-related services. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) issued a consultation document on the proposed changes to the VAT exemption for insurance-related services in July, inviting comment from all interested parties. As part of the consultation, views were sought on the impact the changes were likely to have on UK industry and policyholders.
The consultation exercise formally closed on 30 September and HMRC are currently evaluating the responses.
David Mundell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will change the practice by which the winter fuel payment rebate is paid only to those whose birthday falls before September in the relevant year. 
Mr. Timms: The qualifying week for winter fuel payments is the week commencing with the third Monday in September. This allows for the necessary checks to be carried out and for the majority of payments to be made automatically by Christmas fulfilling the commitment made by the Chancellor. There are no plans to change this practice.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will extend the winter fuel payment scheme to disabled people under the age of 65; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: Help is already available through the disability benefits and the disability premium in income support in recognition of the extra costs, including heating, which disabled people have. There are no plans to extend the winter fuel payment scheme to disabled people under age 65.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will raise winter fuel payments in line with recent energy price increases. 
Mr. Timms: We have no plans to do so. The payment has risen from £20 in winter 199798 to £200 from winter 200001. It is a significant contribution towards fuel costs.