To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what would be the value of the £10 Christmas bonus in 1998–99 if it had been uprated by (a) prices and (b) earnings since its introduction; and if he will estimate how much it would cost to increase it to these levels. 
The information is in the table.
|Christmas bonus in 1998–99
|Additional cost (£)
|Uprated by prices
|Uprated by earnings
|1. The table shows the value and estimated additional costs of the Christmas Bonus in 1998–99 if it had been uprated by each of prices and earnings since its introduction. All costs are rounded to the nearest £10 million.
|2. The uprated levels of the Christmas Bonus have been calculated using the Retail Price Index (All items) and the Average Earnings Index (Whole Economy) as supplied by the Officer for National Statistics. The figure for September 1997 earnings is provisional. The value of the Bonus has been rounded to the nearest 5 pence at each uprating.
|3. The extra costs of paying the uprated Christmas Bonus in respect of National Insurance Fund benefits were estimated by Government Actuary's Department and those in respect of non-National Insurance Fund benefits were estimated by the Department of Social Security.