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26 Mar 2003 : Column 296Wcontinued
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list those parts of his responsibilities which will be the subject of media campaigns in the coming six months. 
|Payment Modernisation||TV, Press, Radio|
|Pensions Education||TV, Press|
|Benefit Fraud||TV, Press, Radio|
|State Second Pension||Press|
|Jobcentre Plus||Press, Radio|
Mr. Nicholas Brown: People with disabilities and health problems have full access to the services of Jobcentre Plus, and are offered meetings with their personal advisers to ensure they are aware of all the help and opportunities available to them.
We have a wide range of programmes that have proved successful in helping people with disabilities, including mental health problems, secure work where they are ready and able to do so. For example, the New Deal for Disabled People is the first national employment programme focused on all Incapacity Benefit (IB) recipients. Through its network of over 60
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Job Brokers across Great Britain the programme is proving successful, and by the end of December 2002 had helped 8,676 people into jobs.
We are also removing barriers to work within the benefit system. Anyone claiming IB can now work for up to and including £20 a week for an unlimited period or work for less than 16 hours a week and earn up to and including £67.50 a week for 26 weeks. People with conditions that may be unlikely to improve over time, such as those with severe mental health problems, will continue to be able to work and earn up to £67.50 a week for as long as they are receiving IB.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have enrolled in the New Deal for Disabled People; of them, how many have been enrolled in more than one programme; and how many have completed courses and moved into (a) permanent and (b) temporary employment. 
Mr. Nicholas Brown: New Deal for Disabled People (NDDP), through its network of over 60 Job Brokers across England, Scotland and Wales, is helping people with health problems and disabilities to move into work.
|People registering with a Job Broker||35,316|
|People helped into work||8,676|
|People achieving sustained work||2,330|
1. Sustained work is defined as the customer remaining in paid work for at least 26 out of 39 weeks.
2. Information is not available for numbers of NDDP customers who have undertaken other programmes while registered with a Job Broker, or on the numbers of customers who have found temporary work.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many lone parents have agreed to participate in the New Deal for Lone Parents in London since its inception; how many and what percentage of participants have obtained employment; and what percentage of participants obtained employment in other regions in England. 
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|Region||Number of participants in the New Deal for Lone Parents||Participants who have gained employment||Proportion of participants gaining employment (percentage)|
|East of England||21,020||10,990||52|
1. Data are provided for Jobcentre Plus regions
2. Data are from the start of the national NDLP programme (October 1998) to September 2002.
New Deal Evaluation Database, DWP
Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions of those people estimated to be entitled to pension credit, how many and what proportion are expected to have made a claim and be in receipt of their entitlement by October 2004. 
Mr. McCartney: The Pension Service will be writing to all pensioner households to explain pension credit and invite applications. By 31 March, letters will have been sent to all MIG households letting them know we will convert their payment to pension credit automatically. Between April and September 2003, invites will be issued to around 20 per cent. of pensioner households with the remaining households targeted between October 2003 and June 2004. This systematic approach will be supported by regional and national advertising.
As the Secretary of State has said in the House, we want as many pensioners as possible who are entitled to claim pension credit to do so. We have set a PSA target of having at least three million households in receipt of pension credit by 2006. We expect to have made good progress towards this target by October 2004, and our aim is to have reached at least 2.8 million or 73 per cent. of those eligible, in 2004. The number of eligible households is estimated, from research data, to be 3.8 million.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans his Department has to help women who were allowed to pay reduced national insurance contributions to gain a full state pension. 
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introduction of stakeholder pensions, State Second Pension, Winter Fuel Payments, improvements to the Minimum Income Guarantee and, from this October, Pension Credit are, or will be, of particular help to women.
In the recent pensions Green Paper "Simplicity, security and choice: Working and saving for retirement", (Cm5677), we have proposed looking at how best to ensure that women are aware of their pension position and the choices they make.
All married women are able to get a basic State Pension based on their husband's contributions of 60 per cent. of his entitlement once both have reached State Pension age and have claimed their State Pension.
The married women who opted to pay reduced rate contributions made an informed choice. They were required to give written notice of their decision on a form attached to a leaflet. The leaflet went to great lengths to describe the consequences of that decision and required them to sign a declaration that they had read and understood the leaflet. Employers could not make this decision on behalf of their employees. Women who chose to pay reduced rate National Insurance contributions were given a certificate to give to their employer. An employer was not allowed to deduct reduced rate National Insurance contributions without this certificate.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the differences between the rules on accruing entitlement to (a) the basic state pension and (b) the state second pension. 
Mr. McCartney: In order to become entitled to the basic State Pension, a person has to satisfy two conditions. The basic State Pension is available to both the employed and self-employed. In addition, anyone may make voluntary contributions, subject to a time limit, if this is necessary to build up entitlement.
The first basic State Pension entitlement condition is that a person has either: one qualifying year since 6 April 1975 which is derived from the payment of Class 1, 2 or 3 National Insurance contributions or from Class 1 contributions treated as paid; or paid 50 flat rate contributions at any time before 6 April 1975.
The second basic State Pension entitlement condition relates to the number of qualifying years a person has. Currently to get a full basic State Pension a man needs 44, and a woman 39, qualifying years. The number of qualifying years can be reduced if a person is entitled to Home Responsibilities Protection. The basic State Pension cannot be paid if a person has less than 25 per cent. of the qualifying years needed for a full State Pension.
A qualifying year for the basic State Pension is a tax year in which a person receives, or is treated as receiving, qualifying earnings of at least 52 times the National Insurance Lower Earnings Limit for that year.
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In certain circumstances a person may be credited with earnings to help them get a State Pension if they do not have enough earnings in a tax year to reach the level needed to make it a qualifying year.
The entitlement condition to the State Second Pension depends on the level of earnings a person has, or is treated as having, between the Lower Earnings Limit and the Upper Earnings Limit in any tax year from 6 April 2002. Entitlement to the State Second Pension will be reduced or extinguished for any period where a person has contracted-out into an occupational or personal pension scheme.
Only earnings on which Class 1 contributions have been paid, or treated as paid, count towards the State Second Pension. Earnings of married women and widows who pay contributions at the reduced rate do not count.
Employees who earn above the Lower Earnings Limit but less than the Lower Earnings Threshold are treated as having earnings at the Lower Earnings Threshold. Certain carers and people who are disabled or long-term ill who earn less than the Lower Earnings Threshold, including those with no earnings at all, are also treated as having earnings at the Lower Earnings Threshold.
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