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Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what has been the average time he has taken to answer written questions from the hon. Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak over the past three months; and if he will make a statement. 
Maria Eagle: The number of questions tabled has nearly doubled from the average for the period from October. It is not surprising, therefore, that the time to reply to inquiries has lengthened. The average time to answer questions from my hon. Friend is 17 working days.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many of each quarterly cohort on the full-time education and training option in the new deal for young people left the new deal with the qualification for which they aimed in each quarter since the inception of the new deal. 
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Mr. McCartney: The information is contained in "The Abstract of Statistics for Social Security Benefits and Contributions and Indices of Prices and Earnings, 2000 Edition". The publication is available in the Library. The abstract is also available on the internet at www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how he proposes to assess pension credit for pensioners who receive a state pension based on contribution years that do not allow a full state pension. 
Mr. McCartney: Our proposals for pension credit will ensure that all pensioners, including those with less than full basic state pension, will receive a guaranteed minimum income for single pensioners that will be around £100 a week and £154 for married couples.
The savings credit will reward income from second pensions and savings above the savings credit threshold. The illustrative figure for the threshold is 200304 is £77 for a single pensioner which is also the illustrative amount of the full basic state pension in 200304 and £123 for married couples.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will (a) estimate the numbers of women claiming a state pension on the basis of their own contributions in each of the last five years and (b) give this figure as a percentage of all women benefiting from a state pension; and if he will estimate the (i) number and (ii) percentage over the next five years. 
|Women receiving a state pension on the basis of their own contributions (millions)||3.62||3.76||3.89||4.03||4.15|
|Percentage as a proportion of all women in receipt of retirement pension||53||55||56||58||60|
Figures rounded to nearest 10,000 and nearest percentage point.
5 per cent. sample from the Pension Strategy Computer System at March of each year.
|Estimate of women likely to receive a state pension on the basis of their own contributions (million)||4.27||4.42||4.57||4.72||4.90|
|Percentage as a proportion of all women in receipt of retirement pension||62||63||65||66||68|
Forecast figures provided by Government Actuaries Department are for financial year.
Figures rounded to nearest 10,000 and nearest percentage point.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what mechanisms he has put in place to enable individuals to receive combined pension forecasts giving both state and private pension details. 
Mr. McCartney: Combined pension forecasts are an important part of our commitment to provide individuals with better information about their pension position and the options available to them, in order to enable them to save for their retirement. Individuals are provided with a forecast of both their state and current private pension together for the first time. The statement is issued on a voluntary basis by the private sector provider, using state pension information supplied by the Department.
We have worked closely with a selection of private sector partners and conducted pilot exercises to inform the design and development of the service and learned valuable lessons on how best to present and support the service being offered to our mutual customer.
The service has been designed to ensure that it provides the right information in a way which individuals can easily interpret, is provided with their consent and that the data shared between the private/public sectors occurs in a controlled environment which does not add unnecessary overheads to the parties involved.
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new statement. The Department has also created dedicated roles to ensure that schemes and individual customers taking advantage of the service, receive the support required.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the percentage of employees in each decile of employee incomes who were not members of (a) occupational and (b) approved personal pension schemes as of 1 April. 
All employees earning above the lower earnings limit (£66 per week in 19992000) are members of the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (SERPS) unless they contract out into a personal or occupational pension. Therefore "all" full-time employees and part-time employees above earning over the lower earnings limit (above decile four) are accruing pension rights in the SERPS and/or are members of a private pension.
Furthermore, for 18 million low and moderate earners, carers and the disabled the introduction of the state second pension will significantly increase the amount of state pension they will become entitled to. This will boost the retirement income of approximately 65 per cent. of current full-time employees (those in deciles one to seven) and almost all current part-time employees above decile four.
|Percentage who are not contributing to:|
|Decile||occupational pension||personal pension||either personal or occupational pension|
1. Information is not recorded by the Family Resources Survey on those who have a pension scheme which they are not currently contributing to, nor which personal pension schemes are approved schemes. Therefore the figures show those not contributing to occupational or personal pensions.
2. The deciles are calculated separately for full and part-time workers, and are of gross earnings. The separation between full-time and part-time workers is to make clear the behavioural similarities that exist between those in same deciles on the full-time and part-time scale, but who would be in different deciles were the data combined, due to their differing earning levels.
3. The estimates are based on sample counts that have been adjusted for non-response using multi-purpose grossing factors that control for region, council tax band and a number of demographic variables. Estimates are subject to sampling error and to variability in non-response. The information covers Great Britain.
Family Resources Survey 19992000
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Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many employees in the (a) public and (b) private sectors had access to a final salary occupational pension scheme in Scotland in (i) 2000 and (ii) 2001. 
|Number of public sector workers in Scotland with access to a final salary occupational scheme||480,000|
|Number of private sector workers in Scotland with access to a final salary occupational scheme||440,000|
1. The information is derived from the New Earnings Survey (NES) and the Labour Force Survey (LFS). The NES provides the percentage of employees with access to the final salary occupational pension schemes and the LFS provides information on the overall number of public and private sector employees. Due to its sampling frame, the NES probably under represents relatively low paid and part-time staff. The LFS, like any sample survey, is subject to sampling error.
2. NES estimates are collected on a workplace basis, from the employer. The LFS collects information on a residence basis from individuals. Research into commuting patterns has indicated that net levels of commuting to and from Scotland are not significant.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the role of affinity groups in the promotion of stakeholder pensions; and if he will estimate the number of pensions sold through this route. 
Mr. McCartney: Affinity groups perform an important and valued role in assisting the Government's aim to ensure that everyone has the chance to save for a decent income in retirement. Several affinity groups are registered as stakeholder pension providers. Around 173,000 stakeholder pensions have been sold by such groups.
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