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PENSIONERS: Only 1.5 per cent of Britain's 10 million pensioners pay income tax at the top rate, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Michael Jack, disclosed last night. It means only 150,000 people aged 65 or over have taxable incomes of more than pounds 24,200 a year.

CONSULTANTS: The Foreign Office spent more than pounds 290m on consultancies in 1994-95. An FO spokesman said he did not have details but insisted it was "money well spent".

nBUSINESS TODAY - Commons: Treasury questions; Prime Minister's questions; estimates debates on Social Security spending and Agriculture spending. Lords: Child Support Bill, Third Reading; Education (Assisted Places) Regulations; Northern Ireland Act (Interim Period Extension) Order; Trade Union and Labour Relations (Northern Ireland) Order.