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Lone Parent Families

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of people living in lone parent families in each year since 1997 were in (a) the bottom 30 per cent., (b) the bottom 40 per cent. and (c) the bottom 50 per cent. of the income distribution. [27765]

Malcolm Wicks: The information available is in the table.

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Following our reforms of the tax and benefit systems to help make work pay, we are seeing a steady reduction in the number of lone parents at the lower end of the income distribution. Results for 1999–2000 are the latest available. They will not include the full impact of the working families tax credit, further increases in allowances for children or improvements in the labour market that have occurred since; these will have increased the incomes of lone parent families.

Percentage of individuals living in lone-parent families in the bottom 30, 40 and 50 per cent. of the income distribution, including the self-employed is in the table.

Percentage of individuals below percentiles of the income distribution

Bottom 30 per cent.Bottom 40 per cent.Bottom 50 per cent.
Income before housing costs
Income after housing costs


1. All figures are estimates and are taken from the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) data set which is derived from the Family Resources Survey (FRS). The FRS does not include Northern Ireland.

2. The income measure used in HBAI is weekly net (disposable), equivalised household income (that is to say income that is adjusted to reflect the composition of the household).

3. The estimates are sample counts, which have been adjusted for non-response using multipurpose grossing factors that control for region, council tax band and a number of other demographic variables. Estimates are subject to both sampling error and to variability in non-response. All proportions are rounded to the nearest per cent.

4. The estimates are presented on both a Before Housing Costs income (BHC) and an After Housing Costs income (AHC) basis in line with HBAI conventions.



Pension Credit

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) if he will provide figures on the same basis as tables 3 and 4 of "The Pension Credit: long-term projections", showing (a) the cost of the basic state pension if increased in line with earnings, (b) the additional cost of increasing the basic pension in line with earnings and (c) the additional yield of national insurance contributions if they remain the same proportion of contributors' earnings as in 2002–03; [30394]

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Mr. McCartney: "The Pension Credit: Long-term projections" sets out the Department for Work and Pensions' illustrative projections of the future cost and coverage of the Pension Credit under various assumptions. These projections should be treated as broad-brush illustrations of the effect of various assumptions rather than firm forecasts of potential costs. The results can be thought of as providing broad lower and upper ranges of potential costs.

The projections set out in the paper are sufficient to inform the Department's policy making and to provide assurance that the Government's spending on pensions remains sustainable in the long term. The further analysis requested could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Private Pension Funds

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if, pursuant to the answer of 23 January 2002, Official Report, column 855W, he will list the means-tested state benefits that attribute income from individual private pension funds not yet annuitised or drawn down; and how many (a) claimants and (b) unsuccessful claimants have been subject to such pension tariff in the last 12 months. [31454]

Mr. McCartney: The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is as follows. The following state benefits take into account income from occupational or personal pensions:

Basic State Pension

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the (a) number and (b) percentage of (i) men and (ii) women over pension age who are entitled to a full rate of basic state pension. [33774]

Mr. McCartney [holding answer 5 February 2002]: The information requested is in the table:

Number of men and women over state pension age who are entitled to a full basic pension of £67.50 at 31 March 2001: Great Britain

Number of recipients of full basic pension (thousand)3,458.53,275.5
Percentage entitled to basic state pension9249


1. All 5 per cent. samples are subject to sampling error.

2. Figures are rounded to the nearest 100, percentages to the nearest whole per cent.

3. Figures exclude Channel Islands and overseas cases.


Pensions Strategy Computer System at 31 March 2001 based on a 5 per cent. sample

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Housing Benefit

Mr. Pound: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what changes he proposes to make to housing benefit when pension credit is introduced. [35156]

Malcolm Wicks: The Government's aim in introducing pension credit is to guarantee pensioners a decent income in retirement and, for the first time, to reward those with savings rather than penalise them. Housing benefit makes a vital contribution to this strategy, by allowing pensioners to access affordable housing.

Under pension credit, most pensioners over 65 will be asked for a statement of their circumstances every five years. Housing benefit awards will follow the same timings. From 2003, we will no longer ask pensioners to make a repeat claim for housing benefit every year.

This will reduce burdens on pensioners, simplify administration and allow local authorities to focus more resources on targeting fraud, rather than processing routine renewal claims.

We believe that it would be wrong to deny housing benefit recipients the extra support that pension credit will provide. We will therefore raise the housing benefit income threshold by the maximum amount of the pension credit savings reward, to an expected level of £113.80 for single pensioners in 2003. In addition, we will treat pensioners' capital more generously, taking into account £1 for every £500 instead of every £250 of qualifying savings.

As a result of these changes, 1.9 million pensioner households will get more help, or help for the first time, through housing benefit.


Air Traffic Control (Prestwick)

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what steps her Department has taken to monitor the UK Airline Group's capability to fulfil its commitment to build a new Air Traffic Control Centre at Prestwick; [33939]

Mr. Spellar [holding answers 6 February 2002]: I have been asked to reply.

The Airline Group is contractually committed to the construction, completion, commissioning and entry into full operational service of the new Scottish centre at Prestwick as part of the public-private partnership deal for National Air Traffic Services.

Boundary Commission

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will make a statement on the allocation of the programmed expenditure of £0.3 million referred to on page 16 of her Department's 2001 annual report. [24770]

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Mrs. Liddell: The programme expenditure is in respect of the Parliamentary Boundary Commission for Scotland. The Commission is currently undertaking the 5th review of parliamentary constituencies in Scotland.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will make a statement on the reason for the extent of the change from (a) 1999–2000 to 2000–01 and (b) 2000–01 to 2001–02 to the costs of the Parliamentary Boundary Commission for Scotland. [24764]

Mrs. Liddell: The costs of the Boundary Commission for Scotland have changed in these years due to preparation for and work involved in undertaking the 5th review of parliamentary constituencies in Scotland, which was formally commenced on 29 June 2001.

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