HC Deb 26 January 1998 vol 305 cc110-1W
Mr. Cousins

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if she will estimate(a) the total expenditure on earnings-related statutory maternity pay, (b) the number of claimants of earnings-related statutory maternity pay in 1996 and (c) the number of such claimants in each quartile of the national earnings distribution. [24356]

Mr. Denham

The information is not available in the form requested. Such information as is available is as follows: The Departmental Report shows Government expenditure on Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) of £524 million during the tax year 1995–96. The Government Actuary's Department estimate expenditure on the earnings related component of SMP to be £340 million for that year.

The table shows the number of people receiving earnings related SMP during the tax year 1995–96 in each quartile of the National earnings distribution for women:

Weekly earnings Number of people receiving earnings related SMP
Minimum to lower quartile 98,000
Lower quartile to median 71,000
Median to upper quartile 70,000
Upper quartile to maximum 82,000
Total 321,000


1. The number of people receiving SMP is from the Lifetime Labour Market Database (LLMDB), a 1 per cent. sample of the National Insurance Recording System taken at February 1997.

2. The national earnings distribution is from the Labour Force Survey Spring 1996, with a lower quartile of £70 per week, a median of £149 per week and an upper quartile of £240 per week. This is the earnings distribution at a point in time, and is not the distribution of earnings at the time of the individual's pregnancy.

3. Figures are for Great Britain and are rounded to the nearest thousand.

4. Weekly earnings are estimated from the amount of SMP during the tax year. This estimate is based on the SMP being paid for six weeks at 90 per cent. of pay and for 12 further weeks at the flat rate of SMP, and the whole period of SMP falling in one tax year.