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Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what action he is taking in co-ordination with other Government Departments to (a) disseminate advice and good practice on occupational health in the workplace and (b) clarify the official vehicles for doing so. 
Jane Kennedy: The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is working with Department of Health to deliver action from the 'Choosing Health?' White Paper, and to support NHS plus to provide occupational health services where capacity is available.
In addition, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, announced 'Workplace Health Direct' on 2 February 2005 as part of DWP's five-year strategy on
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employment opportunities for all. This is a £20 million pilot scheme to give free occupational health, safety and return-to-work advice and support to small and medium sized businesses and workers.
Mr. Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners are in receipt of pension credit in Birmingham, broken down by constituency; and what the total value of pension credit paid to them is. 
Malcolm Wicks: Information on numbers of households and individuals in receipt of pension credit in each constituency at 31 December 2004 is contained in the most recent quarterly pension credit progress report, which was published on 3 February. A copy of the report is in the Library. Between 1 October 2003 and 31 December 2004 an estimated total of £181.7 million, rounded to the nearest £100,000, was paid in pension credit in the ten Birmingham constituencies. The average award over this period was £50.67.
Programme Accounting Computer System and IAD Information Centre, Department for Work and Pensions.
Malcolm Wicks: The information is given in the two tables. Further information on numbers of households and individuals in receipt of pension credit and average awards at 31 December 2004 is contained in the most recent quarterly Pension Credit progress report, which was published on 3 February. A copy of the report is in the Library.
Malcolm Wicks: Available information on average management charges for personal pensions over the last 10 years (including stakeholder pensions from 6 April 2001) is in the following table. The average charges are based on 25 year regular premiums of £60 per month except for 2004 which is based on £50.
|Personal pension||Stakeholder pension|
The figures are from the Financial Services Authority (FSA), and its predecessor the Personal Investment Authority (PIA), who collected information on pension charges and reported this using the Reduction in Yield (RIY) measurement. This is defined as the percentage point reduction in the gross return on a pension fund as a result of explicit charges and fees. Dealing costs and other implicit charges are not included.Until 2002, the figures were collected as part of the FSA and PIA annual disclosure surveys. However, they have been replaced by online comparative tables, which give present not historical data and so some figures are unavailable.
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The RIY on personal pensions has fallen significantly since the mid 1990's, from around 1.9 per cent. in 1995 to around 1.1 per cent. in 2002, where it has remained. This drop can largely be attributed to the introduction of the stakeholder pension charge cap, currently set at 1 per cent. and the FSA restrictions on advised sales of personal pensions with significantly higher charges than this.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what percentage of pensions were sold to each income decile of the population in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
The table shows income and status of people contributing to a Personal Pension or Stakeholder Pension in the 200203 tax year, not people purchasing a pension product; some of the personal pensions recorded in the table will have been in existence for several years.
The table shows that the majority of contributors to both Personal and Stakeholder Pensions are employees, with the next largest group of contributors being the self-employed. For both Personal Pensions and Stakeholder Pensions the majority of contributors in 200203 were those earning under £20,000 a year and there are very few contributors who are either outside normal working ages or not in employment.
This Government want people with modest incomes to have access to good value pensions, and to make the right pension provision for a secure retirement; stakeholder pensions are helping to meet this aim.
|Personal pensions||Stakeholder pensions||Personal and Stakeholder pensions|
|Earning £30,000 plus||850,000||110,000||910,000|
|Earning 30,000 plus||210,000||20,000||230,000|
|In receipt of a Pension||30,000||10,000||40,000|
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the current level of stakeholder charges on the uptake of personal pensions by low income workers; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: In the period between April 2001 and September 2004 over 40 pension providers have sold nearly 2.2 million stakeholder pensions, and the average charge on personal pensions has fallen from a 1.9 per cent. Reduction In Yield in 1996 to 1.1 per cent. in 2004, a fall the Pensions Commission attributes a significant part of to the stakeholder pension charge cap. This fall in charges has ensured more of peoples savings go towards their retirement, and less is consumed by charges.
However the Government recognises that it has been difficult to ensure that the pensions industry can effectively market stakeholder pensions within the constraints of a 1 per cent. charge cap, and to increase the proportion of under-savers actively targeted by providers the Government have, after commissioning an independent review by Deloitte, announced a revised charge cap of 1.5 per cent. for new members joining on or after 6 April 2005 for the first 10 years of membership, reverting to 1 per cent. thereafter. These changes will increase the number of under-savers the pensions industry can cost effectively target, while still ensuring good value for the consumer.
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