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Government Pensions Liability

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what the Government's liability is for (a) the basic state pension, (b) SERPS and (c) state second pension in (a) 2000, (b) 2005, (c) 2010, (d) 2015, (e) 2020, (f) 2030, (g) 2040 and (h) 2050 at current real values. [115102]

Mr. Rooker: The information is in the table.

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Estimated future liability for basic state pension, state earnings-related pension (SERPS) and state second pension--1999-00 prices
£ billion

YearBSPSERPSState second pensionTotal


1. The figures have been calculated based on the following assumptions:

SERPS expenditure is based on the assumption that State Second Pension is introduced from 2002 and so any SERPS expenditure after that date is on earlier accruals.

SERPS expenditure does not include the effects of the Inherited SERPS scheme and accompanying deferral announced on 15 March 2000.

State Second Pension expenditure assumes the scheme becomes flat rate from 2006 onwards.

From 2006 everyone aged under 40 and earning over £9,500 (in 1999 earnings terms) chooses to contract out of State Second Pension. Contracting out is based on the proposals contained in the current Bill.

2. Increases in contracted out rebates as a result of introducing State Second Pension and Stakeholder pensions are not included in the table.

3. The figures are consistent with those in the Government Actuary Department's report on the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Bill 1999.

4. As the costs are based on long-term estimates and assumptions the figures given for early years, particularly 2000-01, are very broad brush estimates and are subject to uncertainty.

5. The figures are shown rounded to the nearest £0.1 billion and may not sum to totals due to rounding.


Government Actuaries Department


Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what assessment he has made of automated systems for cross-checking the consistency of data between different departmental computer systems as a means of reducing fraud and error. [115367]

Mr. Rooker: A continuous programme of data matching activities has taken place since 1995. Results confirm matching data from a number of sources across the Department is an effective tool in identifying losses to programme expenditure caused by fraud and error.

Between April 1998 and March 1999, cross checking data held on departmental computer systems resulted in 139,292 referrals for further investigation, 63 per cent. of which were found to be incorrect, resulting in savings estimated at £114.8 million.


Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, Central will receive a reply from the Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency to his request for details

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of the implications of the outcome of the Lawrence inquiry for the recruitment and career development procedures of the Benefits Agency. [115503]

Angela Eagle: A reply was issued to my hon. Friend on 17 March 2000.


Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 8 March 2000, Official Report, columns 731-32W, what notification of interest changes he has received from the Office for National Statistics since 11 May 1999. [114821]

Angela Eagle: The information is in the table.


Date of notification from Office for National StatisticsAverage interest rate notified
11 May 19996.66
9 June 19996.65
7 July 19996.65
12 August 19996.60
7 September 19996.59
29 October 19996.58
9 November 19996.62
8 December 19996.67
12 January 20006.88
8 February 20006.88
8 March 20006.92


Information extracted from table 7.1L Building Societies: interest rates


Building Societies Commission; Bank of England

Inherited SERPS Entitlement

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the cost of exempting all persons who have reached pension age by April 2000 from the proposed 50 per cent. cut in inherited SERPS entitlement, on a basis consistent with his estimate of a cost of £2,500 million for his proposed deferral of the cut until October 2002, assuming that this policy was implemented in place of his proposals announced on 15 March. [115528]

Mr. Rooker: The estimated cost is £7,100 million.

Disability-related Living Costs

Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to carry out research into calculating disability-related living costs in a manner which allows them to be taken into account when deciding local authority service charges. [114715]

Mr. Hutton: Our White Paper "Modernising Social Services" recognised that the scale of variation in discretionary charges is unacceptable. The Audit

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Commission is preparing a report on home care charges and we shall take this into account when considering how to address these variations.


Korean War (50th Anniversary)

Mr. Walter: To ask the Prime Minister what plans the Government have to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Korean War. [115037]

The Prime Minister: The United Kingdom will be represented at the Opening Ceremony of the Commemoration Programme taking place on 25 June in the Republic of Korea, to recognise the 50th Anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War. The ceremony will be held at the Korean War Cemetery, Seoul. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence will attend. Contingents of veterans are being invited.

A comprehensive series of commemorative events are planned over the next three years in the Republic of Korea. The United Kingdom will be represented at a number of these events at an appropriate level.


Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Prime Minister what factors led him to decide that the new synchrotron should be built at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire. [115138]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 17 March 2000]: The Government's position is that the scientific case was marginally in favour of Rutherford and site issues were neutral.

Both partners expressed the view that they favoured the Rutherford site. The French Education Ministry stated publicly that

The Wellcome Trust stated that they would withdraw from the partnership if the decision was taken to locate the project at Daresbury.


Mr. David Atkinson: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his recent meetings with Acting President Putin; and what assistance he agreed to provide in Chechnya. [115604]

The Prime Minister: I had useful and constructive meetings with Acting President Putin in St. Petersburg on 11 March which focused on Chechnya and the Russian economy. I made clear that the Russian response to events in Chechnya had to be proportionate and strongly urged that independent international observers be given access to assess whether human rights violations had taken place. I stressed the urgent need for a political process to begin in Chechnya. Mr. Putin assured me that Russia would permit access by the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, Mary Robinson, and by international bodies such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

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I also discussed with Mr. Putin prospects for the Russian economy and British investment in it. I made clear the need to improve conditions for investors. Mr. Putin stressed his intention to develop a liberal market economy.

The United Kingdom has already provided £1.4 million for humanitarian assistance to IRC/UN appeals for Chechnya. We have also donated through the EU which has provided 3.3 million euros. The UN launched a further appeal for Chechnya on 15 March and we are giving urgent consideration to a further UK donation.

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