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11 Nov 2004 : Column 914W—continued


Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average amount of basic state pension paid to (a) men in their own right, (b) women in their own right and (c) couples was in (i) 1997 and (ii) 2003; and how many people were in each group in each year. [194752]

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Malcolm Wicks: The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is in the table.
Average basic state pension (£)Number of recipients of Category A basic state pension (Thousand)

1. Basic state pension refers to Category A pensions obtained from a person's own national insurance contributions plus basic state pensions derived from a former spouse's national insurance contributions. It excludes people with entitlement to a Category A pension where their Category B pension is more than their Category A pension.
2. Amounts are rounded to the nearest pence and numbers of recipients are rounded to the nearest thousand.
3. Amounts and numbers are for Great Britain.
Figures are derived from a 5 per cent., sample of DWP administrative data taken at September in each year.

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Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the (a) median and (b) mean pension income was in each year since 1997, broken down between (i) state benefits, (ii) occupational pension, (iii) personal pension, (iv) earnings and (v) other sources. [196418]

Malcolm Wicks: The information requested is in the tables.
Table A: Mean incomes of pensioner units from 1996–97 to 2002–03, broken down by source income
£ per week

All pensioner units
Gross income230234243252265273277
Benefit income121123124130133139142
Occupational pension59616365707274
Personal pension3445778
Investment income27272929302824
Other income1122333
Pensioner couples
Gross income334340349357379392388
Benefit income148149149156159165170
Occupational pension97100102102114113114
Personal pension57911121414
Investment income45474747484639
Other income1222344
Single pensioners
Gross income165167176183192194203
Benefit income104106109114115121124
Occupational pension36373841424448
Personal pension1111323
Investment income16151817191615
Other income1122223

Table B: Net median income of pensioner units after housing costs
£ per week

All pensioners126131134142148159164
Pensioner couples197202208216227235242
Single pensioners889195103109117122

Table C: Median values of different sources of pensioner incomes for those in receipt
£ per week

Occupational pension
All pensioners56606063667174
Pensioner couples79868894101106107
Single pensioners42444545485055
Personal pension
All pensioners29313231344135
Pensioner couples35324041384437
Single pensioners23272119293426
Investment income
All pensioners6565554
Pensioner couples111011101098
Single pensioners3333332
All pensioners130125158146155137156
Pensioner couples157142173164180148174
Single pensioners9097141104127120128

1. Incomes are presented as pounds per week. Figures for incomes are given in 2002–03 prices and rounded to the nearest pound. Totals may not equal their components due to rounding.
2. The Pensioners' Incomes Series analysis is for pensioner units, which are either: single pensioners (ie people over state pension age) or pensioner couples (i.e. married or cohabiting pensioners where the man is over state pension age.)
Tables A, B and C: The Pensioners' Incomes Series 2002–03 which is based on data from the Family Resources Survey.

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Redeployment Units

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff in his Department and its agencies were in redeployment units during 2003; and how many have been in such units in 2004. [196518]

Maria Eagle: The Department did not have any redeployment units in 2003. The Pension Service redeployment unit was set up in July 2004 and is currently the only redeployment unit within the Department. 228 staff have been in the redeployment unit, 120 of whom have moved on.

Sign Language

Rev. Martin Smyth: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans there are to include (a) British and (b) Irish Sign Language in the European Charter of Minority Languages. [196887]

Maria Eagle: The Council of Europe's Charter for Regional or Minority Languages does not include provision for sign languages. The Council's Parliamentary Assembly made a recommendation to the Council on the protection of sign languages used in member states to which the Council's Committee of Ministers responded on 5 July 2004. The reply notes that before deciding on the question of any possible future instrument a study of the needs of sign language users should be conducted in consultation with them and their organisations. The Government have indicated a willingness to participate in further work to move the process forward.

Social Security Benefits

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has following the introduction of the Mental Capacity Bill to modernise the system for appointment to receive social security benefits in lieu of the beneficiary. [194820]

Maria Eagle: We are looking at our current appointee arrangements in the light of the Mental Capacity Bill, in particular the initial assessment of incapacity and 'best interests'. The proposed codes of practice will provide
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the opportunity to review and bolster our existing guidance and arrangements. We are also looking at possible post-appointment monitoring systems.

TV Licence Fees

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he has had, and with whom, on the possibility of changes to the present television licence fee for people who are in receipt of state retirement pension. [195372]

Estelle Morris: I have been asked to reply.

A range of matters relating to BBC funding, including television licence fee concessions, need to be considered in the context of BBC Charter Review. As part of the Charter Review process, the Government have carried out an extensive public consultation exercise and have also commissioned supplementary research. In the course of this process a wide range of issues have been raised concerning the television licensing regime.

Women Pensioners

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the reasons for differences in the percentages of women pensioners entitled to a full basic state pension in England and Wales and in Northern Ireland. [197013]

Vera Baird: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the reasons for the differences between the number of women pensioners in (a) Northern Ireland and (b) England and Wales in receipt of the full basic state pension. [197075]

Malcolm Wicks: The differences between the proportions of women receiving a full basic state pension in England and Wales and in Northern Ireland can be attributed to variations in the extent to which women's own contribution records entitle them to qualify for a full basic state pension in their own right: and numbers of women who are widowed or divorced and qualify for a full basic state pension based on their late or former husband's contributions.
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