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Mr. Pond: The average number of housing benefit claimants during 200203 was 3,804,900; the average number of council tax benefit claimants was 4,590,900. The information for each local authority has been placed in the Library.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of compensation he expects the Pension Protection Fund to provide to pensioners losing all or part of their occupational pensions when the scheme comes into existence. 
Malcolm Wicks: When the Pension Protection Fund is introduced in April 2005, the level of compensation provided to members of eligible defined benefit schemes and defined benefit elements of eligible hybrid schemes will be as follows:
100 per cent. level of compensation subject to PPF Rules to those above the scheme's Normal Pension Age (NPA) immediately before the assessment date (the first day of the assessment period), and to those below NPA who are either in receipt of survivors' benefit or already in receipt of their pension on the grounds of ill health immediately before the assessment date.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 14 June 2004, Official Report, column 729W, on pensions, what a pensioner's income from the State Pension was in each year in (a) cash and (b) real terms, broken down by the components identified in footnote 3. 
|BSP Maximum Rate||61.15||62.45||64.70||66.75||67.50||72.50|
|Average additional State Pension||14.80||15.70||13.35||14.65||14.15||15.25|
|BSP Maximum Rate||74.75||74.50||74.20||75.35||74.00||78.10|
|Average additional State Pension||18.10||18.70||15.30||16.55||15.50||16.40|
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the sum required to produce an annuity of the same size as the minimum income guarantee/pension guarantee credit for pensioners with pension inflation protection in each year of the MIG pension guarantee credit scheme. 
|Guarantee (£)||RPI escalating annuity rate (percentage)||Amount required to produce an income equal to the guarantee (£)|
|Guarantee (£)||Full BSP (£)||Amount guarantee exceeds BSP (£)||RPI escalating annuity rate (percentage)||Amount required to produce an income equal to the gap between the guarantee and a full BSP (£)|
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what research has been commissioned by his Department on the effects on the health of men over 65 years in the 10 most deprived local authorities in the United Kingdom of raising the retirement age to 70 years. 
Malcolm Wicks: There is no such thing as a state retirement age; many employers choose to set a retirement age for their employees typically at 60 or 65. The Government are currently consulting with key stakeholders on the future of retirement age in light of the 2006 age legislation, and will consider the effects of their final decision on individuals and employers.
The state pension age, the age at which an individual may receive their state pension is currently 65 for men and 60 for women. As announced in the 2002 Pensions Green Paper "Simplicity Security and Choice: Working and saving for retirement", the Government have no plans to increase the state pension age beyond 65. Our aim is to provide the choice and opportunity for all individuals to work longer if they wish and to retire at a point that best suits their circumstances. A number of new measures to support this approach were introduced in the 2002 Pensions Green Paper.
As we are not planning to increase state pension age beyond 65 we have not conducted nor commissioned the specific research raised in the question. However, DWP research report 182 "Working after State Pension Age: Quantitative Analysis" finds that those choosing to work beyond state pension age are much more likely than those not working to report excellent or very good health status. The findings from this report also indicate that those remaining in work beyond state pension age were as least as likely to maintain good health status as all other groups, and found some limited evidence that work could lead to improvements in health status. A copy of the report is available in the Library.
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