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Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the (a) notional size and (b) relationship to notional incapacity benefit levels of the proposed rehabilitation support and disability support allowances as set out in the estimates and calculations of the future of incapacity benefits consultation paper is. 
Margaret Hodge: We intend to publish a Green Paper setting out our proposals for the future of welfare to work support for people with health conditions and disabilities later this year. This will reflect the proposals in the Consultation Paper. However, the structure and rates for any new benefit have not yet been determined.
Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people aged over 50 years claimed jobseeker's allowance in financial years (a) 200102, (b) 200203, (c) 200304 and (d) 200405; how many of these (i) were eligible for new deal 50 plus and (ii) participated in new deal 50 plus; and what percentage of claimants (A) remained on jobseeker's allowance (B) found work (C) moved onto income support and (D) moved onto incapacity benefit in each case. 
|All claimants||Under six months||Six months and over(38)|
April to March
People claiming employment credit(39)
|People moving into work through new deal 50 plus(40)|
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the reports that (a) have been and (b) are scheduled to be published as part of the evaluation of the Pathways to Work pilots. 
Incapacity Benefit ReformsEarly findings from qualitative research", the National Centre for Social Research, DWP report no. 202 (published September 2004). Incapacity Benefit ReformsThe Personal Adviser Role and Practices", the National Centre for Social Research, DWP report no. 212 (published November 2004). IB Reforms Pilot: Findings from a longitudinal panel of clients", Social Policy Research Unit, DWP report no. 259 (published 7 July 2005).
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the impact of Pension Protection Fund regulations on the incomes of members of schemes affected who have taken early retirement. 
Mr. Timms: The Pension Protection Fund provides 90 per cent. level of compensation for those members who, immediately before the assessment date, are under the scheme's normal pension age. This includes early retirees. However, those members who took early retirement, but have then reached the scheme's normal pension age before the assessment date, will receive 100 per cent. level of compensation.
The compensation cap applies to all members who receive 90 per cent. level of compensation. The compensation cap is age related and is currently £27,777.78 at age 65 (effectively £25,000 at 90 per cent. level). The compensation cap is adjusted, according to age, in accordance with actuarial factors published by the Board of the PPF.
We have based this split on those over and under the scheme's normal pension age because we believe those over that age are less likely to be able to make good or cope with a sudden reduction in income. We also considered it would be unfair if, for example, two members of the same age (e.g. 58 years) received different levels of compensation simply because one member chose to take early retirement while the other chose to continue to work.
The compensation members receive from the PPF may not be equivalent to the pension they may have been expecting to receive from the scheme. However, it is important to remember that PPF compensation is effectively an emergency backstop that only takes effect
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when the scheme's sponsoring employer or employers have become insolvent and when the scheme itself can not afford to pay benefits at the same level as the PPF.
It is also true that in previous years should a pension scheme have to wind up underfunded the scheme's current pensioners had first claim to the assets of the scheme. This was advantageous to pensioners but in some cases led to all other members of the scheme (including those just a few years or even months from retirement) losing almost all of their pension. This was a situation that became worse the more a scheme was in deficit when it was wound up. This was frequently criticised and perceived as unfair.
We believe the PPF levels of compensation strike the right balance between the amount of compensation payable and the amount that would be required to be paid into the PPF via the levies. In total, more money will be paid out by the PPF than could have been paid by the scheme.
There are two groups of individuals who, regardless of age, are not subject to the 90 per cent. compensation level; individuals who, before the assessment date, are already in receipt of a survivors' pension and those in receipt of an early pension on the grounds of ill health.
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