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Devolved Parliament and Assemblies: Official Report

Lord Dormand of Easington asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): Papers of the Scottish Parliament and of the Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies are not, at present, made available in the Printed Paper Office.

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I shall, however, ask the Administration and Works Sub-Committee to consider this at their next meeting.

Average Incomes

Lord Ashley of Stoke asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the average income of people in each decile of the income distribution.[HL2530]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): The information requested is given in the table below:

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Money values for decile medians of the equivalised income distribution in April 1998 prices, including self-employed

Bottom decileSecond decileThird decileFourth decileFifth decileSixth decileSeventh decileEighth decileNinth decileTop decile
Before Housing Costs108144172202236274316370453649
After Housing Costs71106132164200236277327402582


FRS 1996-97.


1. All figures are estimates and are taken from the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) data set which is based on the Family Resources Survey (FRS). The FRS does not include Northern Ireland. 1996-97 is the latest year for which information is available.

2. The income measure used is weekly net (disposable) equivalised household income (that is to say "actual" income that is adjusted to reflect the composition of the household). The figures given are equivalent to the "actual" household income of a couple with no children.

3. Median incomes are given to avoid any potential bias affecting the mean, as a result of the large numbers of outlying observations present in both the first and tenth deciles of the income distribution, both of which are skewed downwards. These outliers result from problems with both under-recording of household income and high sampling variability at the top and bottom of the income distribution.

4. It is standard HBAI practice to give results for income both before and after housing costs, in order to allow for the effect of variations in housing costs between households.

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SERPS: Spouses' Benefits

Lord Rix asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Hollis of Heigham on 18 May (WA 27), why they believe the reduction in spouses' benefits under SERPS does not deprive anyone of a possession within the

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    meaning of Article 1 of the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights.[HL2691]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: We do not believe that benefits which depend on the payment of contributions by another person are possessions within the meaning of Article 1. In addition, we consider that the reduction in SERPS benefits is consistent with Article 1, which allows for needs to be reassessed in the light of changing social policy.

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