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Incapacity Benefit

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. [6320]

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.

Jobseeker's Allowance

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) 2001–02, (b) 2002–03, (c) 2003–04 and (d) 2004–05; 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. [7894]

Mr. Plaskitt: The information is not available in the form requested. The available information is in the following tables.
Jobseeker's allowance claimants aged 50 and overby duration of claim(37)

All claimantsUnder six monthsSix months and over(38)

(37)If the claim has ended in the year, age has been calculated at the end of the claim. If the claim is ongoing at the end of the year, age has been calculated at the end of the year.
(38)People who have been claiming jobseeker's allowance for six months or more are eligible for new deal 50 plus. Additionally around 15 per cent. of those people claiming jobseeker's allowance for less than six months may also be eligible for new deal 50 plus as a result of another qualifying benefit claim preceding their jobseeker's allowance claim.
1.Figures are for Great Britain and are rounded to the nearest 100, totals may not sum due to rounding.
2.Years are defined as 1 March to 28/29 February in each year.
3.A person is only counted once each year regardless of how many times they have flowed on and off jobseeker's allowance in that year, but they may appear in more than one year. The claim with the longest duration within each year has been used.
4.Due to late notification of commencements on the jobseeker's allowance payment system (JSAPS) for the most recent quarter i.e. to the end of February 2005, the total number of claims for 2004–05 can be expected to increase.
5.Durations for claims that have not ended by the end of the relevant financial year have been calculated at that point in time. Due to only having data up to the end of February 2005, the number of claimants in the six months and over category is an underestimate for the 2004–05 year i.e. anyone starting after 1 September 2004 whose claim is still live at the year end has had a duration of less than six months calculated. As more data comes in over the following months the durations of these claims will become over six months.
Department for Work and Pensions Information Directorate. 5 per cent. samples subject to a degree of sampling variation.

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Number of people moving into employment throughnew deal 50 plus

April to March

People claiming employment credit(39)
People moving into work through new deal 50 plus(40)

(39)Until April 2003 new deal 50 plus figures were measured in terms of employment credit starts. Those with gross personal income of more than £15,000 a year were not entitled to the employment credit on entering work.
(40)On 6 April 2003 the new deal 50 plus employment credit was replaced by the back to work element of the working tax credit. Figures do not include people claiming the back to work element of working tax credit who have not had assistance from jobcentre plus.
Information Directorate, DWP

Parliamentary Questions

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he will reply to question reference 5234 tabled by the hon. Member for Monmouth on 14 June. [10319]

Mr. Plaskitt: A reply was given to the hon. Member on 6 July 2005, Official Report, column 483W.
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Pathways to Work Pilots

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. [10137]

Margaret Hodge: The Department has published the following reports as part of the evaluation of the Pathways to Work pilots.

These reports are available in the Library.

The Department is scheduled to publish another report in September 2005:

The programme of evaluation continues through until 2008. Further reports will be published in the DWP research series.

Pension Protection Fund

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. [9107]

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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