§ Mr. Willetts
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many couples going through a divorce have used the pensions sharing regulations since they were implemented in December 2000; and what proportion this represents of all couples going through a divorce. 
§ Ms Rosie Winterton
I have been asked to reply.
The information available without incurring disproportionate cost is that my Department has been monitoring orders made in the courts and is aware of 1,521 pension sharing or pension attachment orders having been made to date in England and Wales. 137,270 Decrees Absolute were made in 2001.
The new regulations apply only to those cases where a petition for divorce was filed after 1 December 2000. Many of the cases where a Decree Absolute was granted in 2001 did not, therefore, come under the new regulations. Figures for the number of divorces in 2002 are not yet available.