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Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent assessment has been made of customer service performance at the Swansea Pension Service Centre; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: The most recent assessment of customer service at Swansea pension centre, in May 2005, found that over 95 per cent. of customers contacted as part of a monthly survey were either satisfied or very satisfied with the service they had received.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many open days have been held in the last 12 months for staff and volunteers of independent advice services providing assistance to claimants by (a) the Benefits Agency and (b) the Pensions Service; how many people have attended such open days; and if he will make a statement on (i)feedback received and (ii) resultant action. 
Mr. Timms: Jobcentre Plus, which brought together the Benefits Agency and the Employment Service in 2002, conducts approximately 1,560 open days over a 12month period. These vary widely in size and target audience but are all aimed at getting people back to work, either by helping them look for the right types of employment or to provide the more practical help they may need when finding a job. Local service teams of the Pension Service have attended a number of local events with staff and volunteers from independent advice services, aimed at maximising take-up of benefits and services for older people. Detailed information on the number of open days held by Jobcentre Plus or the Pension Service, the number of people attending and feedback obtained is not held centrally.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost has been to public funds of
14 Jul 2005 : Column 1277W
(a) the winter fuel payment, (b) free TV licences for the over 75s, (c) the pension credit and (d) increases in the state pension was in each year since 199798. 
Mr. Timms: The information is in the table1, 2
1 Figures for (a), (c) and (d) are for Great Britain. Figures for (b) are for the United Kingdom. With the exception of free TV licences for the over-75s, benefit expenditure in Northern Ireland is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Social Security Agency.
|(a) Winter fuel payment(42)||(b) Free TV licences for the over-75s||(c) Pension credit(43)||(d) Increases|
in the state pension4, 5, 6
Mr. McFadden: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many state retirement pensioners there are in Wolverhampton, South-East; and what percentage this is of the total electorate in the constituency. 
Mr. Timms: As at 31 September 2004, there were 13,100 recipients of the state pension in the Wolverhampton, South-East parliamentary constituency of whom 5,100 were males and 8,000 were females. This represents around 24 per cent. of the electorate.
1.Recipient figures are taken from a 5 per cent. sample and are therefore subject to a high degree of sampling variation.
2.Parliamentary constituencies are assigned by matching postcodes against the relevant Office for National Statistics postcode directory.
Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in the Lanark and Hamilton East constituency received a state pension in 2005; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: As the Lanark and Hamilton East constituency came into being at the last general election, statistical information on benefit entitlements of its constituents is not yet available.
Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions by how much the state pension has risen in each financial year since 199798. 
Mr. Timms: The information is in the following table:
|Standard rate of basic state pension (£)||Basic state pension percentage increase on previous year||Additional state pension percentage increase on previous year|
Mrs. Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the discussions he has had with trade unions on public sector workers' pensions; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: My right hon. Friend has had no discussions with trade unions about public service pensions. Negotiations on public sector pensions are a matter for my right hon. Friends the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much money has been saved in each year since 2001 through starting retirement pension payday on the Monday after a person's birthday rather than on the birthday itself; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: There have been no overall savings under the current regulations which provide for the payment of state pension in whole weeks at the start and end of a claim.
If payment were to have been made for part weeks at the start of a claim only, and there had been no recovery of overpaid benefit at the end of a claim, we estimate additional expenditure of up to £20 million would have been incurred in each year since 2001.
Ms Gisela Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether local housing allowance (a) applies and (b) is planned to apply to regulated tenancies. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The local housing allowance currently applies only to claimants in the deregulated private sector. We have no plans to include regulated tenancies in the scheme.
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