§ Mr. Peter Duncan
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many UK employees were in receipt of maternity benefit in each of the last five years. 
§ Maria Eagle
There are two maternity payments available to expectant mothers in work; statutory maternity pay (SMP) paid by employers to their employees, and maternity allowance (MA) paid by the Department to employees who do not qualify for SMP, the self-employed and those women who have recently left their jobs.
It is estimated that around 0.3 million1 women in Great Britain will have received SMP from their employer in 2001–02.
The available information on maternity allowance awards to employees is in the table2.
Number3,4 5 April 1999 to 1 April 2000 28,000 6 April 1998 to 3 April 1999 29,000 7 April 1997 to 4 April 1998 25,000 1 April 1996 to 5 April 1997 28,000
1The estimated number of SMP cases in 2001–02 is derived from case load estimates underlying forecast expenditure on SMP but may be subject to revision once information from the National Insurance Records System 2 is available. 2Maternity allowance figures for 2000–01 are due to be released on 25 April. 3Figures are rounded to the nearest thousand. 4Figures for Northern Ireland are not included. Social Security matters in Northern Ireland are the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
1 per cent. samples of the benefit computer system. The data excludes late notifications to the system, a small number of cases held clerically and is subject to a degree of sampling error.