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Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the planned phases for the transfer of benefit payments to automated credit transfer. [60843]

Malcolm Wicks: Customers will be moved from order books and girocheques to payment into a bank or building society account on a benefit by benefit basis. This will start in 2003 and we plan to finish two years later. We plan to start to contact the first customers in late 2002. Even after the move to payments directly into accounts, customers will still be able to continue to collect their benefits in cash from the Post Office if they wish.


Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what assessment has been made of the additional cost to a person of caring for a disabled person; and what element of this is provided for in the state pension; [62371]

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Maria Eagle: No estimates of the additional cost to a person of caring for a disabled person are available and the state pension does not contain an element in respect of caring responsibility, but carers entitlement to state pension is protected through contribution credits and the home responsibilities protection scheme. In addition, from April this year some 2 million carers are able to build up entitlement to an additional pension through the state second pension.

As part of the substantial package of measures to help carers announced in autumn 2000, the Government have responded positively to representations made by older carers and their organisations by abolishing the age 65 upper age limit for claims to invalid care allowance. This change comes into effect on 28 October 2002. It will enable older carers with little of no retirement pension to receive the allowance, while those with low incomes will benefit by gaining access to the carer premium paid with income-related benefits, and follows the substantial increases to the carer premium and to the earnings limit for entitlement to invalid care allowance made in April 2001. Overall these measures, together with the continued payment of invalid care allowance for up to eight weeks after the death of the severely disabled person being cared for, will provide over £500 million in extra support for carers over three years.

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In-work Benefits (Administration)

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what (a) costs associated with moving in-work benefit administration from his Department to the Inland Revenue and (b) other costs his Department incurred in each year since 1999–2000 with regard to the working families tax credit. [62604]

Malcolm Wicks: The project costs to this Department associated with replacing family credit with working families tax credit in 1999 are estimated at £1.5 million for 1998–99 and £1.6 million for 1999–2000.

No figures are available for the on-going costs—information provided to customers about working families tax credit is part of the package of information given to them about the benefits of moving into work.


Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his answer of 22 May 2002, Official Report, column 378W, on pensions, if he will update his estimates based on the Family Resources Survey 2000–01 of (a) median pensioner incomes, excluding means-tested benefits, by (i) age, (ii) sex and (iii) marital status, and (b) the size of each group. [62693]

Mr. McCartney: The information required is in the table.

Age 60–64Age 65–69Age 70–74Age 75–79Age 80+
Single males
Median income (£)n/a138141136132
Single females
Median income (£)132127127116109
Median income (£)n/a296258236211


1. The definition of income used here is gross income, that is income gross of the following items: income tax payments, national insurance contributions, contributions to occupational and personal pension schemes, local taxes, maintenance, child support payments and parental contributions to students living away from home.

2. "Median income" represents the income of the person or family exactly in the middle of the range of ranked incomes of the age group. For each age group there is a wide range of incomes.

3. The data are from the Family Resources Survey 2000–01 and are rounded to the nearest £1 or 10,000.

4. Estimates are for pensioner units. Pensioner units are defined as single (non-cohabiting) people over state pension age (65 and over for men, 60 and over for women) and couples (married or cohabiting) where the man is over state pension age.

5. Pensioner units are allocated to age categories according to the age of the head. The head of a couple is defined as the man.

6. Estimates have not been split by gender for couples as the extent of income sharing within pensioner units is not known.

7. Means tested benefits refer to minimum income guarantee, working families' tax credit, housing benefit, council tax benefit and social fund grants.

8. These results are based on survey respondents' identification of different elements of benefit income, and are therefore subject to misreporting.

Mr. Charles Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if it is his policy to regard money purchase pension schemes as broadly comparable with final salary pension schemes; and if he will make a statement. [63169]

Mr. McCartney: Both defined benefit and defined contribution pensions have their advantages and disadvantages. However, the Government's principal concern is to ensure that as much money goes into the pension pot as possible, and is not spent on the cost of selling or running the pension fund.

Over a whole working life, if contributions to a defined benefit scheme were the same as those to a defined contribution scheme we would expect the pension benefits to be broadly comparable.

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New Deal

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Portsmouth, South constituency found permanent employment as a result of the New Deal for (a) long term unemployed 25 plus, (b) lone parents, (c) disabled people and (d) 50 plus in each of the years since they were introduced; and if he will make a statement. [63370]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: Information on the New Deal for Disabled People is not available at constituency level. Such information as is available is in the table.

New Deal 25 plus(16)New Deal 50 plus(17)New Deal for Lone Parents(17)
Total number of people entering sustained employment(18), in Portsmouth, South

(16) In April 2001 New Deal 25 Plus was extended and enhanced, to provide a flexible, more individually-tailored service to help more people get jobs and remain in them.

(17) Figures for sustained employment are not given for the New Deal 50 plus and the New Deal for Lone Parents. The figures given are therefore the total number of jobs gained.

(18) Sustained employment is defined as employment lasting more than 13 weeks.

(19) Figures are not available as the New Deal 50 plus was only introduced nationally from April 2000.


New Deal Evaluation Database.

Benefit Fraud

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much funding has been given for investigating benefit fraud in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [63681]

Malcolm Wicks: For details of the Department's spending, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave my right hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) on 10 December 2001, Official Report, column 618W.

Bereavement Benefits

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will review the rules on awarding backdated benefits to men widowed before the introduction of the 2001 changes to bereavement benefits. [63691]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 21 June 2002]: We have no plans to do so. There is continuing litigation and the matter will be kept under review.

We reformed benefits in widowhood by introducing bereavement benefits from 9 April 2001. Before then there was no statutory basis to make payments of widow's benefits to men. The Government have said already that in making those reforms their obligation was to future widowers and widows. The reforms in 2001 met this obligation and went further. The new widowed parents allowance was available to existing widowers from its introduction in April 2001.

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