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Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the use of non-geographic 0870 and 0845 telephone numbers by his Department and its agencies. 
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much revenue his Department and its agencies received from the use of (a) 0870 and (b) 0845 telephone numbers in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his latest estimate is of the annual cost of administering (a) the pension credit and (b) the basic state pension; and what the administration costs are as a proportion of the total benefits paid out under (i) pension credit and (ii) basic state pension. 
Malcolm Wicks: Information is not currently available in the format requested. In accordance with the requirements of resource accounting and budgeting, the Department now accounts for its administration and benefit expenditure by strategic objective, as set out in its Public Service Agreements (PSA), and by individual requests for resources (RfRs), as set out in the departmental estimates and accounts.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps pensioners need to take to continue to receive their pension payments over the counter at post offices; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Pond: Pensioners who are contacted about the move to Direct Payment are provided with information on all the account options open to them, including those accounts which can be accessed at post offices. There are now a wide range of new, easy to operate accounts such as current accounts and basic bank accounts, in addition to the Post Office card account, which allow pensioners to get their money at a post office. The small number of people who cannot be paid directly into an account will be paid by cheque, which is cashable at post offices.
Mr. Fisher: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in (a) Stoke-on-Trent and (b) England have indicated that they wish to continue to collect their pensions at post offices. 
Mr. Pond: The information is not available in the form requested. Information on methods of payment of state pension is given in the following table. Some of those customers who have opted to be paid directly into a bank or building society account will be able to collect cash from their account at a post office. It is not possible to identify these separately.
|Payments paid into bank or building|
|Payments paid into Post Office card|
|Accounts paid by cheque||1,150||25|
|Accounts paid by order book||1,565,140||10,675|
Mr. Fisher: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people of pensionable age in Stoke-on-Trent do not receive (a) the full basic state pension and (b) part of the basic state pension as a result of their contribution records. 
|People of state pension age in receipt of:|
|A basic state pension at less than the full rate||13,200|
|A state pension but no basic state pension||300|
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many individuals were in receipt of (a) basic state pension and (b) over-80s pension in Southend-on-Sea in (i) 1980, (ii) 1990, (iii) 2000 and (iv)2004. 
|Number of individuals receiving:|
|March||Basic state pension||Category D pension|
Malcolm Wicks: The UK state pension is payable in all countries abroad to those who are entitled to it. It is uprated in the normal way for pensioners living abroad where there is a legal requirement or a reciprocal social security agreement to do so.
However, the uprating of state pensions outside this arrangement is the subject of an appeal to the House of Lords from a decision of the Court of Appeal which found in favour of the Government. We will respond accordingly at the hearing which is set for 28 February and 1 March this year.
Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many reports of computer failure his Department has received since the introduction of pension and benefit payment through the Post Office card account. 
Mr. Pond [holding answer 20 December 2004]: Computer faults are reported on a daily basis, examples include faults with individual PC's, system problems affecting individual claims and, on occasion, the unavailability of computer systems such as income support.
If it can be defined to what level the information is required and in particular which systems e.g. pensions, income support that the information is required for, then data held since introduction of the payment through Post Office card account (April 2003) may be trawled to identify specific incidents.
The total value of late payments is £32,415,625.00. The total value of all payments since April 2003 is approximately £180,148,321,883.00. Therefore, the proportion of payments received late by customers is 0.02 per cent.
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