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Mr. Laxton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment his Department has made of the recommendation by the Select Committee on Work and Pensions in February that Jobcentre Plus staff cuts should be postponed until delays caused by technology and problems with service quality are overcome. 
The departmental efficiency challenge is under constant scrutiny through a system of steering committees, programme boards and gates and the Office of Government Commerce Gateway reviews. These mechanisms, in addition to the detailed planning and monitoring processes, provide an appropriate platform to manage risks to the programme and its constituent parts.
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Forest of Dean district council is an employer member of the Local Government Pension Scheme as administered by Gloucestershire county council. When carrying out actuarial valuations of individual funds, each actuary sets individual contribution rates for each employers' liabilities and their own work forces, balanced against the overall performance of the fund. At the time of the 2004 valuation, the Gloucestershire county council pension fund had overall assets to meet 70 per cent. of its liabilities. Forest of Dean district council have chosen to phase the increase in its contribution rate over three years and the pension fund's actuary has set an employer contribution rate of 14.9 per cent. (2006), 17.2 per cent. (2007) and 19.5 per cent. (2008) of pensionable payroll as part of a process to secure the county council's pension fund's ongoing solvency.
Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many investigations into second stage processing have been carried out by Operation Gangmaster since its establishment; 
(2) how many labour providers operating in second stage processing have been (a) investigated, (b) arrested and charged for breaches of the law and (c) convicted for offences under Operation Gangmaster since its establishment; 
Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the progress of Operation Gangmaster since the introduction of the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004. 
Mr. Plaskitt: Operation Gangmaster is one of a number of cross Government initiatives which DWP actively supports. In addition to Operation Gangmaster the Department has supported the setting up of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority and will provide support for the Joint Workplace Enforcement Pilot, a cross Government initiative aimed at tackling exploitation of labour in the West Midlands.
Mr. Plaskitt: The information is not yet available. Latest estimates of the average amount of minimum income guarantee (MIG) unclaimed by male and female pensioners can be found in the Department's report 'Income Related Benefits: Estimates of Take-Up in 200203', which is available in the Library. Estimates of take-up in 200304 will cover the first six months of pension credit and are expected to be released by the end of 2005. MIG was replaced by pension credit from 6 October 2003.
1.Figure is rounded to the nearest hundred. 2.Figure is based on a five per cent. sample and is therefore subject to a degree of sampling variation. 3.Parliamentary constituencies are assigned by matching postcodes against the relevant Office for National Statistics postcode directory.
IAD Information Centre, five per cent. sample.
Mr. Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to (a) enable women to build up their own entitlement to a pension, (b) encourage the provision of private and occupational pensions that work more effectively for women and (c) tackle the inequalities and pensions provision which affect women. 
Mr. Plaskitt: To enable women to build up their own entitlement to a pension, we have introduced state second pension which means that women are now just as likely as men to be accruing second-tier state pension rights. The national minimum wage has boosted the earnings of female low earners, enabling more women to start building up state pensions. Separating the primary threshold level from the lower earnings limit means that many low earners are now building up basic and state second pension rights without having to pay contributions.
To encourage the provision of private and occupational pensions that work for women, we introduced part-time workers regulations which ensure that terms and conditions of employment, including those related to access to occupational pension schemes, do not discriminate against part-time workers. We have also introduced stakeholder pensions to offer a low-cost, portable and flexible pension option which can be particularly suitable for women taking career breaks. Measures in the Pensions Act 2004, such as new rules to increase the pension rights of early leavers, are also beneficial to women.
To tackle the inequalities in pension provision which affect women pensioners today, pension credit and other tax and benefit changes have lifted 1.3 million women out of poverty. Fair outcomes for women and carers is one of our principles for future reform, and will
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be one of the criteria on which any proposals will be judged. As part of the wider national pensions debate an event focussing on women and pensions will be held and a report discussing the issue will be published later in the year.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 11 July 2005, Official Report, column 682W, on pension scheme records, what requirement there is on former trustees to maintain records of schemes which have been wound up. 
Mr. Plaskitt: Under pensions legislation there is no requirement for trustees to maintain records after a pension scheme has been wound up. At that point the trustees cease to become trustees of the scheme.
However, tax regulations require the trustees of an approved occupational pension scheme to keep signed scheme accounts, signed actuarial valuation reports and records of major transactions for six years, irrespective of whether the scheme winds up during this period.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what assessment his Department has made of (a) the sustainability and environmental impacts of private finance initiative (PFI) projects and (b) the effectiveness of the PFI process in delivering environmentally sustainable projects; 
(2) what role his Department (a) has taken and (b) plans to take to make the private finance initiative (i) process and (ii) contracts more accountable and transparent in terms of environmental sustainability in his Department; 
Mr. Plaskitt: Under the Private Finance Initiative, the estate of the former DSS, was transferred to the private sector in April 1998 for the provision of fully serviced accommodation. Following the formation of the Department for Work and Pensions, the estate of the former employment service became subject to the same partnership contract (known as PRIME) in December 2003. Within the contract, there are specific clauses that cover environmental impacts, and encourage the private sector partner to develop environmental improvements The Department's Estates partnerLand Securities Trillium, whose Environmental Management System is accredited to International Standard ISO 14001, works closely with the DWP corporate Sustainable Development Team to identify opportunities for environmental improvements. The Sustainable Development Team contract manages this element of the partnership, and continually assesses performance. Regular partnership meetings are held between the Department and Land Securities Trillium to monitor progress.
The partnership approach has enabled innovative measures to be developedsuch as the use of spend to save projects designed to improve energy and water efficiency across the estate, and a programme to maximise the recycling of paper waste. Full details of all
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measures can be found within the annual DWP Sustainable Development Report, to which Land Securities Trillium make a full contribution.
The current departmental approvals process includes sustainable development as an overarching commitment that all change programmes need to incorporate into their plans. This will ensure that any future Private Finance Initiatives include sustainable development issues, as PRIME successfully did, from the outset.
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