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Stakeholder Pension

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the Stakeholder Pension; and how much this will add to the total value of a pension. [25926]

Mr. McCartney: As set out in our 1998 Green Paper "Partnership in Pensions" the Government's long-term pension reforms are designed to ensure that all pensioners have a decent income in retirement, building on the foundation of the basic state pension available to all. This means everyone recognising their responsibilities; with those who are able, saving for their retirement, the Government supporting those who cannot save, and the private sector providing affordable and secure second pensions.

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Before April 2001, many of those who could put money aside to provide for themselves in retirement had no straightforward, good value way to enter a pension scheme. Stakeholder pensions, which were introduced from that date, offered such people a good value, flexible product. Annual charges are capped at 1 per cent. of the fund's value, meaning more of what people pay in goes towards their pension. There are no additional charges for stopping and starting payments or transferring between stakeholder schemes. They are widely available but are particularly aimed at moderate to higher earners who do not already have access to an occupational pension or a good personal pension with an employer contribution. Stakeholder pensions are an important part of the framework this Government have now put in place to give everyone access to a good value pension arrangement and a decent income in retirement.

The added value of a stakeholder pension will vary according to the charging structure of the particular scheme, the investment returns achieved and the individual's pattern of payments.

Poor Households

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of persons in poverty in working households without children are working more than 30 hours per week and are aged 25 years or over. [25979]

Malcolm Wicks: Poverty and social exclusion are complex multi-dimensional issues, affecting many aspects of people's lives—including their living standards, health, housing, the quality of the environment and not just low income. The third "Opportunity for all" report (Cm 5260) sets out the Government's strategy for tackling poverty and social exclusion and presents the latest information on the indicators used to measure progress against this strategy. Specific information regarding low income is available in "Households Below Average Income 1994–95 to 1999–2000".

Pension Credit

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he will allow annuity holders (a) to draw down the assets and (b) to set up phased annuity schemes for the purposes of assessing entitlement to the proposed pension credit. [26019]

Mr. McCartney: Income drawdown plans may be taken out by personal pension fund holders, but most drawdown providers generally only recommend this option for people with significant funds. Personal pension savings may be split in parts and annuitised separately. Income and potential income from private pensions will be relevant for the purposes of assessing entitlement to pension credit.

Share Ownership

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many shareholders there are in each region; and what proportion of the adult population of their areas they represent. [26240]

Malcolm Wicks: The information available for the latest year is in the following table.

Stocks/shares/unit trusts/PEPs/ISAs holders in 2000–01

Government office regionNumber of adult stocks/shareholders in the region (Thousand)Proportion of adult population of the region who are stocks/shareholders (Percentage)Number of adult stocks/shares/unit trusts/PEPs/ISAs holders in the region (Thousand)Proportion of adult population of the region who are stocks/shares/unit trusts/PEPs/ISAs holders (Percentage)
North East2401151023
North West and Merseyside940181,63031
Yorkshire and Humber700181,22031
East Midlands570171,02030
West Midlands560151,08029
South East1,560262,51042
South West730211,29036
Total Great Britain8,2501914,22032


1. The estimates are based on sample counts that have been adjusted for non-response using multi-purpose grossing factors that control for tenure, Council Tax Band and a number of demographic variables. Estimates are subject to sampling error and to variability in non-response.

2. Questions on assets are a sensitive part of the FRS questionnaire and have relatively low level of response, and hence higher levels of imputation, compared to other parts of the survey. Responses are imputed in around 1 in 10 cases. Evidence also suggests some under reporting of capital by respondents.

3. The final two columns of the table refer to adults reporting one of more of the categories: stocks and shares, unit trusts, PEPs and ISAs.

4. The results are for Financial Year 2000–01 and the number of adults figures are rounded to the nearest 10,000.


Family Resources Survey (FRS)

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Disability Living Allowance

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what representations he has received in respect of the appropriateness of the application form for disability living allowance for haemodialysis patients; and what proposals he has to make amendments to it. [27545]

Maria Eagle: No such representations have been received and no changes are planned to the disability living allowance claim which would affect haemodialysis patients.

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for each of the last three years, how many and what percentage of (a) applicants for disability living allowance whose applications were accepted and (b) appeals against these decisions to reject applications were upheld; and how many of them were haemodialysis patients. [27546]

Maria Eagle: Information is not available in the form requested.

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he plans to conduct a review of the operation of the disability living allowance. [29519]

Maria Eagle: As with other social security benefits, the operation of disability living allowance is kept under review. We have recently made significant improvements to the DLA claim form, we are currently piloting revised arrangements for obtaining relevant information from claimants' general practitioners, and in consultation with organisations representing disabled people, are testing an alternative system for extra-costs disability benefits based on activities for managing life.

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Statistics and Reports

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the publication dates of statistics and reports due to be released by his Department and its agencies during calendar year 2002. [28392]

Mr. McCartney: Information on the release dates of statistics published by the Department under the national statistics banner is notified in the National Statistics Update issued by the Office for National Statistics and is available in the Library. Release dates four months ahead are given and the information is rolled forward one month at the end of each month.


Gillian Merron: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Chelmsford, West (Mr. Burns), of 5 December 2001, Official Report, column 430W, on numbers of letters received by his Department, if the details of letters received between 20 June and 20 July are available. [29888]

Maria Eagle: In my written answer of 5 December I said that information between 20 June and 20 July was not available in the format requested. That was incorrect. The information requested is as follows.

We received 1,137 letters for ministerial reply between 20 June and 20 July. Of those 814 (72 per cent.) were answered within 20 working days, 244 (21 per cent.) were answered within 21–40 working days and 79 (7 per cent.) were answered in more than 40 working days.

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Unemployment (South Tyneside)

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans his Department has to help unemployed people over 50 years of age back into work in south Tyneside. [15022]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: We are committed to helping people of all ages back into work. Our range of back to work programmes, including new deal 50 plus, new deal 25 plus and new deal for disabled people have helped to ensure that the employment rate for the over-50s has increased each year for the last four years. All of these programmes are operating in south Tyneside. In addition, extra support is available in south Tyneside through the local action team for jobs and work-focused interview site.

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