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Volume 404: debated on Monday 28 April 2003

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 16 December 2002, Official Report, columns 606—7W, on average earnings, how much more reliable the new earnings survey figures are for (a) the West Midlands region and (b) Herefordshire and Worcestershire than the figures for Worcestershire. [109355]

I have been asked to reply.The reliability of average earnings estimates can be gauged by looking at the coefficient of variation for that estimate. That is the standard error of the average, expressed as a percentage of the average. The smaller the coefficient of variation, the better the estimate. For the areas stated above the average weekly wage and coefficient of variation are as follows:

AreaAverage Gross


Earnings (£)1
Coefficient of

variation (%)
West Midlands Government Office

Hereford and Worcester ACA area395.131.6
Hereford UA375.73.0
1 New Earnings Survey, April 2002, Full-time employees on adult rates whose pay for the survey period was unaffected by absence.
The difference between the above figure for the Hereford and Worcester ACA area and that given on 16 December 2002, reflects the fact that unitary authorities are excluded from the published estimates of New Earnings Survey average wages in county areas. Therefore, the Hereford and Worcester estimate given previously corresponds to Worcestershire only.