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14 Jun 2005 : Column 256W—continued

Train Commuters

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) passengers in excess of capacity and (b) total number of passengers figure was (i) for each London commuting service train operator and (ii) in total, broken down into (A) am peak and (B) pm peak figures measured in the annual survey in 2004; and how many peak passengers into London there were for (1) am peak periods, (2) pm peak periods and (3) in total for each London commuting service train operator. [2297]

Derek Twigg: The results of the autumn 2004 counts will be published at the end of this month. The results of the autumn 2003 counts are shown in the following
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table. The Passengers In Excess of Capacity" (PIXC) mechanism monitors services into London in the morning peak and out of London in the evening peak.
am peak
pm peak
OperatorLoadPIXC (percentage)LoadPIXC (percentage)Total (am and pm)
South Central69,1274.752,0831.13.1
Connex South Eastern118,1623.192,0480.52.0
Great Eastern47,7392.146,3582.12.1
South West Trains81,6707.470,3732.85.2

Vehicle Excise Duty

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions in the last 12 months for which figures are available when the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) initiated court proceedings against people who were believed not to have paid excise duty (VED), the DVLA (a) withdrew proceedings and (b) lost a case in court because the vehicle keeper showed that he or she had paid VED; how much the DVLA estimates such proceedings cost public funds; what steps the DVLA will take to improve its administration procedures to avoid the initiation of this type of unnecessary proceedings; and if he will make a statement. [1470]

Dr. Ladyman: In the 12 months to the end of March 2005 DVLA successfully prosecuted 189,418 cases in court for vehicle excise duty (VED) evasion. DVLA was unsuccessful in 3,400 cases. A breakdown of why these cases were unsuccessful is not available but the main reason is likely to be that VED was paid after the summons had been issued.

DVLA asks for a minimum of £35 to cover the costs of the whole procedure from initiation of enforcement proceedings to attendance in court.

The agency makes every effort to avoid court action. Initial action against VED evaders is taken through the offer of an out of court settlement which offers the offender the opportunity to settle the matter without recourse to court proceedings. Around 27 per cent. of evaders make use of this procedure.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the cost of collecting vehicle excise duty in the latest year for which information is available. [4539]

Dr. Ladyman: The total cost of collecting vehicle excise duty in 2004–05 was £119.5 million.


Bereavement Allowance

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) widows and (b) widowers are receiving bereavement allowance; and how many of these are over 55 years and claiming the full rate of benefit. [3867]

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Mr. Plaskitt: The information is in the following table.
Bereavement allowance recipients in Great Britain, as at September 2004

All bereavement allowance recipients in Great Britain
Bereavement allowance recipients aged 55+ and receiving the full rate

1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 100.
2. The full rate for bereavement allowance at September 2004 is £79.60.
3. Bereavement allowance figures include both age related and non-age related recipients.
4. Figures exclude overseas recipients.
Information Directorate, 5 per cent. sample

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) widows and (b) widowers have received the lump sum bereavement benefit of £2,000 within the last 12 months. [3868]

Mr. Plaskitt: The information is in the following table.
Number of successful claims for bereavement payment in the last 12 months, by gender.

Total successful claimsTotal successful claims; femaleTotal successful claims; male
April 20052,9831,8381,145
March 20052,8911,7721,119
February 20052,8621,8051,057
January 20053,4202,2031,217
December 20042,4451,567878
November 20042,7861,7461,040
October 20042,8531,8481,005
September 20042,6041,721883
August 20042,3971,512885
July 20042,4761,601875
June 20042,7491,770979
May 20042,6351,636999

Management Information Systems Programme 04 (MISP 04)

Cost-benefit Analyses

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which employment programmes have had a cost benefit analysis produced; and if he will place copies in the Library. [2078]

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Margaret Hodge: Evidence on the cost effectiveness of the New Deal for Young People programme has been produced by the Policy Studies Institute and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and is available in the Library in 'Findings from the Macro Evaluation of the New Deal for Young People, DWP Research Report 168.'

A preliminary cost benefit analysis of New Deal for Lone Parents programme was carried in house by DWP economists, using results from the independent evaluation of the programme carried out by the National Centre for Social Research. The findings were published in 'New Deal for Lone Parents: Second Synthesis Report of the National Evaluation', DWP Evaluation Report W163 June 2003 and is also available in the Library.
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This Department is currently producing cost benefit analyses of other major labour market programmes using an improved and more consistent method on a rolling basis. Results are expected to emerge from this autumn and as produced they will be made available under the Department's Freedom of Information procedures.

Earnings-related Pensions

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the cost of increasing the basic state pension to the level of the guarantee credit, linking that level to the growth of average earnings, abolishing the winter heating allowance and pensioner means-tested benefits, and introducing these charges for all pensioners aged over (a) 65, (b) 67, (c) 70 and (d) 75 years in each year from 2005–06 to 2050–51. [2062]

Mr. Timms: Such information as is available is in the table:
Cost of raising the level of the basic State Pension to the guaranteed credit level while abolishing pension credit and thewinter fuel payment

£ billion
Over 65510255080113
Over 6758224372101
Over 704617346084
Over 752410214061

1. The costs are for Great Britain in 2005–06 price terms, using the Gross Domestic Product deflator index, rounded to the nearest £1 billion.
2. Basic State Pension (BSP) expenditure is estimated by the Government Actuary's Department, consistent with Budget 2005 assumptions, made using 2003 based population projections.
3. Pension credit and the winter fuel payment expenditures are estimated by the Department for Work and Pensions forecasts based on 2005 Budget assumptions.
4. The eligibility to the basic State Pension is assumed not to change and to achieve the minimum basic State Pension payable (25 per cent.) a person will normally need 10 or 11 qualifying years.
5. It is assumed that the full rate of basic State Pension is increased to the level of the individual guarantee credit in 2005–06 and is increased in line with earnings. Category B pension paid to married women and basic State Pension paid to people entitled to less than the full rate of basic State Pension are increased by the same proportion.
6. Both pension credit and the winter fuel payment are assumed to be abolished for the different age groups from April 2005 with no payments to existing pensioners and no new recipients after 2005.
7. These figures do not take into account any offsets of tax.
8. Entitlement to additional State Pension, housing benefit, council tax benefit and other pensioner benefits are all assumed to be unchanged.

Under this proposal the pensioners already in receipt of pension credit would be no better off and a substantial number of pensioners would be worse off. This would be because they would lose pension credit and winter fuel payments and any additional amounts that pension credit gives them for caring responsibility, disability and certain housing costs.

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