§ Mr. Martlew
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the impact of the national minimum wage on wage rates in England and Wales. 
§ Mr. Alan Johnson
The Office for National Statistics latest estimates of low pay for spring 2000 (combining New Earnings Survey and Labour Force Survey statistics) show that the national minimum wage is having a direct and beneficial impact on the pay of the lowest paid workers in England and Wales. The latest data also show that it has helped close the gap between the highest and lowest earners and helped reduce the differential between men's and women's pay. This has been achieved without any discernable adverse impact on the economy.