[holding answer 9 February 2009]: The number of women who are estimated to reach state pension age between 6 April 2008 and 5 April 2009 and eligible to pay one or more year of Class 3 National Insurance contributions under the measure contained in the Pensions Act 2008 is 145,000.
No one can take up the option before the measure comes into force on 6 April 2009.
The Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue and Customs are currently working together to agree business procedures for the measure and what changes may be needed to leaflets, letters and forms.
Figures refer to women who are estimated to be resident in the UK and overseas.
Information about people's National Insurance records has been obtained from the Lifetime Labour Market Database 2, 2005 release. Numbers have been estimated based on mortality assumptions for Great Britain from the 2004 based population projections.