§ Mr. Crausby
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the number of workers being paid less than the national minimum wage. 
§ Miss Melanie Johnson
I have been asked to reply.
The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Director of the Office for National Statistics. I have asked him to reply.240W
Letter from Tim Holt to Mr. David Crausby, dated 16 december 1999:As Director of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to reply to your recent parliamentary question about the number of workers being paid under the national minimum wage.Definitive estimates on the number of people that are being paid under the national minimum wage are not yet available. Currently available estimates for assessing the number take data from both the New Earnings Survey and the Labour Force Survey and adjust them for known limitations in each. However, the latest adjusted estimates are based on data for the spring (March-May) 1999 Labour Force Survey and this period spans the introduction date for the national minimum wage legislation. As a result, the adjusted estimates may be giving a misleading picture of the effect of the minimum wage legislation since employees might legitimately have been earning below the minimum wage rates in March 1999.The currently available estimates were published in an ONS First Release on 14 October and show that the number of people earning below the minimum wage rates fell significantly between 1998 and 1999. A copy of this first release will be available in the House of Commons Library.