Previous Section Index Home Page

Home Visits

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 4 April 2001, Official Report, column 204W, on home visits, if he will provide information on a comparable basis on the numbers of home visits in each of the last five years. [157584]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 9 April 2001]: Information is available from April 1996. The number of visits made is as follows:

YearNumber of visits

Income Support

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the amount by which the reduction in Social Security spending in London was attributable to changes in the number of (a) people unemployed and (b) lone parents on Income Support in each year since 1996. [157141]

Mr. Bayley [holding answer 9 April 2001]: The estimated reductions in Social Security spending in London each year compared to a baseline of 1996-97 expenditure are shown in the table.

Estimated amount of reduction in Social Security spending attributable to changes in caseload (London)

£ million
YearJobseeker's AllowanceIS Lone Parents


1. Figures are based on a 5 per cent. sample from the Jobseeker's Allowance and Income Support quarterly statistical inquiries and are therefore subject to a degree of sampling error.

2. Figures rounded to the nearest £10 million.

3. November 1996 is the base quarter.

4. November 2000 quarterly expenditure has been used as a proxy for the February 2001 quarter, as data are not yet available for this quarter.

Occupational Pensions

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many occupational pension schemes were (a) opened, (b) closed and (c) wound-up in each year between 1979 and 2000. [157073]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 9 April 2001]: The information requested is in the table.

10 Apr 2001 : Column: 624W

Significant fluctuations in the number of occupational pension schemes opened, closed and wound up in any particular year largely take place in years when alterations were made to the pensions regulatory regime. For example, the Social Security Act 1986, which came into force in 1988, permitted contracting-out of the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme on a money purchase basis for the first time; the Pensions Act 1995, which came into force in 1997, contained measures to increase security for members of occupational pension schemes.

It is important to note that the increases and decreases in these figures do not necessarily reflect large alterations in the overall coverage of occupational pension schemes. For example, most of the schemes registered in the late 1980's and the vast majority of the schemes wound-up in the late 1990's were small schemes with few members.

Occupational pension schemes opened, closed and wound up in each year between 1979 and 2000

YearNumber of schemes first registered in that year(53)Number of occupational schemes with a frozen or closed status and a date of change within a particular year(54)Number of schemes that wound up in that year(55)

(53) Figures are based on registrable date which is the closest available information to indicate the start date of the scheme

(54) Figures may not be entirely accurate as there may be many schemes on the Registry's database that were once closed to new members but have now completed their winding-up

(55) Figures are based on the wound-up date of occupational pension schemes. Many of these schemes will have begun the wind-up process in an earlier year


The Pensions Schemes Registry

H. J. Wilson

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he will make a far east prisoner of war compensation payment to Gnr. H. J. Wilson, 118 Field Regiment RA, number 2558494. [157876]

Mr. Bayley: The administration of the ex-gratia payment scheme for former far east prisoners of war is a matter for the Acting Chief Executive of the War Pensions Agency, Alan Burnham. He will write to the hon. Member.

10 Apr 2001 : Column: 625W

Letter from Alan Burnham to Mr. Laurence Robertson, dated 10 April 2001:

Departmental Policies

(Hampstead and Highgate)

Ms Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people in Hampstead and Highgate will benefit from the latest rise in Child Benefit. [158011]

Angela Eagle: The information as requested is not available.

However, the latest information shows there are 8,565 families with 14,964 children in the Hampstead and Highgate parliamentary constituency receiving Child Benefit.

Since 1997 the rate of Child Benefit for the first child has increased by 26 per cent. in real terms. The rates from April 2001 are £15.50 for the first child and £10.35 for all other children.

Ms Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people in Hampstead and Highgate are benefiting from the Disability Income Guarantee. [158018]

Mr. Bayley: It is estimated that in 2001-02 approximately 500 cases will benefit from the Disability Income Guarantee in the Hampstead and Highgate constituency.

Ms Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on the effects, with statistical information, on Hampstead and Highgate of his Department's policies since 2 May 1997. [158016]

10 Apr 2001 : Column: 626W

Mr. Rooker: The Department's policies and initiatives have made a significant contribution to the Government's overall objectives of:

These goals are being pursued nationwide and our achievements are set out in our annual "Opportunity for all" reports. Our second report, "Opportunity for all--One year on: making a difference" (CM4865, September 2000) sets out what progress has been made in the past year, as well as highlighting what more needs to be done. Nationwide statistical information is necessarily more complete than data at a local authority level, but the following provides a comparative guide to the effect of the Department's policies and actions in Hampstead and Highgate since May 1997.

Measures in our five Budgets so far will lift over 1.2 million children nationally out of poverty. These include record increases to Child Benefit, the introduction of the Working Families Tax Credit, increases in the income-related benefits, the minimum wage and tax changes.

Child Benefit will be worth £15.50 a week for the eldest child and £10.35 a week for other children from April 2001: nationally about 7 million families receive Child Benefit, and in Hampstead and Highgate 8,565 families benefit.

We now have the lowest unemployment rate in 25 years. The New Deals have helped lone parents, the young unemployed, the long-term unemployed, the over 50s and partners of the unemployed to move from benefit into work. In the period since May 1997 the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance nationally has reduced from 1,562,400 to 960,600; in Hampstead and Highgate the number has reduced from 4,600 to 2,500. Since May 1997 the number of lone parents who claim Income Support has decreased from 1,013,500 to 894,100 nationally and in Hampstead and Highgate from 2,500 to 2,100.

Older people are disproportionately affected by fuel poverty. So we have introduced Winter Fuel Payments to help with their heaviest fuel bill. This winter, the payment is £200 for households who qualify. Around 13,700 older people in Hampstead and Highgate have received a Winter Fuel Payment for this winter (2000-2001).

To demonstrate our commitment to combating pensioner poverty, this year we will spend £4.5 billion extra in real terms on pensioners. Some 12,100 pensioners in Hampstead and Highgate will benefit from the substantial increases in the basic State pension this April and next; this year's increase is £5 a week for single pensioners and £8 for couples. In addition we have introduced free TV licences for the over 75s of whom we estimate there are about 6,000 in Hampstead and Highgate. 3,000 pensioner families in Hampstead and Highgate are receiving the Minimum Income Guarantee, which we introduced in April 1999 to help our poorest pensioners. From April they will be at least £15 a week, or £800 a year, better off in real terms as a result of Government measures since 1997.

10 Apr 2001 : Column: 627W

Other reforms in the pipeline include: the new Pension Credit in 2003 designed to ensure that pensioners benefit from their savings; the launch of Stakeholder Pensions in April this year; and the introduction of the State Second Pension in April 2002 both of which will help provide greater security for tomorrow's pensioners.

Ms Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people in Hampstead and Highgate will benefit from the increase in Minimum Income Guarantee. [158010]

Mr. Rooker: We estimate that over 2 million pensioners in Great Britain as a whole will benefit from this April's increases to the Minimum Income Guarantee rates and capital limits. As well as those pensioners who might be newly entitled in Hampstead and Highgate, some 3,000 pensioners who are currently entitled will benefit from the increase.

Next Section Index Home Page