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22. Mr. Tom Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on his Department's plans to encourage people to work beyond state pension age if they choose to do so. 
Malcolm Wicks: The number of people working past State Pension age has been increasing and now stands at one million. In our March publication Opportunity AgeMeeting the challenges of ageing in the 21st century, we confirmed our aspiration of increasing the number of older people in employment by a million.
We are committed to giving people more choice about when and how they retire. For the first time ever, from this month we will offer people choosing to defer their State pension for a year or more the choice of either an enhanced weekly pension or a generous lump sum payment.
Order books have now ended. All recipients of state pension have been converted to direct payment, whether direct into a bank or building society
4 Apr 2005 : Column 1259W
account or post office card account. The small number of customers that we cannot pay this way are being paid by cheque. No state pension payments after 28 February are due to be paid by order book, although order book foils can be cashed for up to three months after the date shown on the foil. Information on the number of people who retain order book foils yet to be cashed is not available.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in (a) Orkney, (b) Shetland, (c) Scotland and (d) the UK were receiving pension payments using pension books in the week beginning 21 March. 
Mr. Pond: Order books have ended. All recipients of state pension have been converted to direct payment, whether direct into a bank or building society account or Post Office card account, by the week beginning 7 March. The small number of customers that we cannot pay this way are being paid by cheque. No state pension payments after 28 February are due to be paid by order book, although order book foils can be cashed for up to three months after the date shown on the foil. Information on the number of people who retain order book foils yet to be cashed is not available.
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people did not receive the full basic State Pension because of their contribution records in the latest year for which figures are available; and by what amount on average their pensions fell short of the basic state level. 
Malcolm Wicks: As at 31 March 2004, 3,679,200 people in Great Britain received a basic State Pension at less than the full rate of £77.45 a week because of incomplete contribution records. On average the basic State Pension paid fell short of the full level of the basic State Pension by £27.54.
1.Numbers are taken from a 5 per cent, sample and are therefore subject to a high degree of sampling variation. 2.Numbers are rounded to the nearest hundred. Amounts are rounded to the Nearest penny. 3.A basic State Pension is paid to those who fully or partially satisfy the contribution conditions for a Category A or CategoryB basic State Pension, either in their own right or, where applicable, on the basis of their late or former spouse's National Insurance contributions. 4.Numbers do not include people entitled to a basic State Pension which is then increased when they meet the conditions for a Category D Pension. 5.The calculation of the average amount of the shortfall excludes those receiving a basic State Pension of £77.45.
IAD Information centre 5 per cent, sample.
Maria Eagle: As at 30 November 2004, there were 95,255 men aged between 50 and 64 claiming jobseekers allowance, 780,000 claiming incapacity benefits and 417,900 in receipt of disability living allowance.
|As at November||IB/SDA||IB||SDA|
|As at November||Number|
(2) how many jobseeker's allowance claimants in (a) Sheffield and (b) the UK have had their benefits suspended until they have agreed to have their benefit paid into a bank or post office account. 
Mr. Pond: The Department is working with a number of private sector providers and not-for-profit organisations to help convert people from order books and cheques to direct payment into a bank, building society or Post Office card account. The Department regularly works with such organisations who are able to focus tailored help on customers who are disadvantaged or facing particular difficulties. In particular, we have asked them to support customers who may not have been reached by our customer conversion centre or who might be finding it difficult to open a suitable account. This is part of our commitment to increasing financial inclusion and giving customers all the help, information and support they need to open the account which best meets their needs and circumstances.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in receipt of (a) the state pension, (b) jobseeker's allowance, (c) income support, (d) disability living allowance, (e) attendance allowance, (f) child benefit and (g) carer's allowance are receiving their payments via the Department's cheque-based service. 
|Number accounts paid by cheque|
|Disability living allowance (DLA)||168,715|
|Attendance allowance (AA)||27,970|
|Carers allowance (CA)||0|
Mr. Pond: The last pension order book was issued on 9 February 2005 and all order book production for The Pension Service ceased on 10 February. No payment due after 28 February will be paid by order book, although order book foils can be cashed for up to three months after the date shown on the foil. The last possible date for encashment of an order book foil is thus 31 May 2005.
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