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Pensioners (Castle Point)

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of pensioners in Castle Point who do not claim their full entitlement of benefits and allowances. [42828]

Mr. Timms: The information requested is not available.

Latest estimates of the number of pensioners who are entitled to but not receiving the minimum income guarantee, housing benefit and council tax benefit are available on a national basis only. They can be found in the DWP report entitled Income Related Benefits Estimates of Take-Up in 2002/2003". Copies of the publication are available in the Library.

These estimates are published annually in the DWP report Income Related Benefits Estimates of Take-up". The next set of statistics, due to be released on 31 January 2006, will contain figures for the first six months of pension credit.

Currently it is not possible to estimate take-up rates for disability living allowance and attendance allowance. The Department is commissioning research to establish whether it is possible to estimate take-up rates for these benefits. Results will be available in 2007.

Information on the number of pensioners entitled to but not receiving other DWP administered benefits is not available.

Pensions

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate expenditure on state pensions with the winter fuel allowance and pension credit being abolished, state second pension being retained and the basic state pension being raised to the level of the guaranteed credit and increased in line with earnings thereafter for (a) 2006, (b) 2010, (c) 2020, (d) 2030, (e) 2040 and (f) 2050 as a percentage of gross domestic product. [34789]

Mr. Timms: The information is in the table:
Total expenditure (percentage)
20065.4
20105.8
20206.3
20307.7
20408.6
20509.3




Notes:
1.The figures include spending on basic state pensions, additional pensions, over 75s TV licence and Christmas bonuses.
2.Expenditure on basic state pension, additional pension and other pensioner benefits are based on PBR 2005 long-term projections for future GB benefit expenditure.
3.The additional gross cost of raising the BSP to the GC level from 2006–07 has been provided by the Government Actuary's Department (GAD). These figures are for GB only.
4.All figures are rounded to the nearest 0.1 percent.
5.There would also be a reduction in spending on other means tested benefits such as housing and council tax benefit and increase in tax revenues if the basic state pension was linked to guarantee credit level and then uprated by earnings.
6.Under this hypothetical policy change there would be losers. People who had less than full BSP or received pension credit with a disabled or carers premium may lose under this system.




 
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Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate expenditure on state pensions with the winter fuel and pension credit being abolished, state second pension being abolished and the basic state pension being raised to the level of the guaranteed credit and increased in line with earnings thereafter for (a) 2006, (b) 2010, (c) 2020, (d) 2030, (e) 2040 and (f) 2050 as a percentage of gross domestic product. [34848]

Mr. Timms: The information is in the table:
Total expenditure (percentage)
20065.4
20105.8
20206.2
20307.3
20407.8
20507.9




Notes:
1.The figures include spending on basic state pensions, additional pensions, over 75s TV license and Christmas bonuses.
2.Expenditure on basic state pension, additional pension and other pensioner benefits are based on PBR 2005 long-term projections for future GB benefit expenditure.
3.The figures for additional pension are based on the assumption that all SEPRS and S2P accruals up to 5 of April 2006 would still be paid.
4.The figures for the gross costs of raising the basic state pension to the guarantee credit level from 2006–7 and the costs of paying the existing SERPS and S2P accruals are provided by the Government Actuary's Department, they are based on PBR forecasts and are for GB only.
5.There would also be a reduction in spending on other means tested benefits such as housing and council tax benefit and increase in tax revenues if the basic state pension was linked to guarantee credit level and then uprated by earnings.
6.Under this hypothetical policy change there would still be losers. People who had less than full BSP or received pension credit with a disabled or carers premium may lose under this system.
7.The figures are rounded to the nearest 0.1 percent.



Abolishing S2P would mean that the contracted out rebate would no longer need to be paid. This would save:
Percentage
20060.9
20100.7
20200.6
20300.5
20400.4
20500.4




Note:
The figures are rounded to the nearest 0.1 percent.



Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to help contracted and sub-contracted workers achieve appropriate pensions. [39757]


 
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Mr. Timms: The Government have taken a number of steps to help all people save for their retirement, including contracted and sub-contracted workers who do not have access to a suitable company pension scheme. For employees, the introduction of the state second pension in April 2002 is helping around 18.7 million people to build up entitlement to a second tier pension: this includes around 5.8 million low earners, and around 8.8 million moderate earners.

We also introduced stakeholder pensions in April 2001 as an additional pension option. These are flexible and portable with a limit on annual management charges, and they allow for minimum contributions of as little as £20 at a time. As stakeholder pensions are also open to non-earners, policy holders can continue to contribute to their pension plan in any periods of non-employment. These features may be of particular benefit to contracted and sub-contracted workers, who may have interrupted work patterns.

The Government's informed choice programme is also helping people, including contracted and sub-contracted workers, improve their pension provision by raising overall levels of financial education and awareness of the need to plan and provide for retirement. We aim to ensure people have tailored, accurate and timely information, and to improve levels of financial literacy and capability. Overall we are trying to achieve a behavioural and cultural change so that all people actively plan for their retirement.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment his Department is undertaking of the merits of the Pensions Commission's recommendation of a national pension savings scheme run by an independent not-for-profit body. [41852]

Mr. Timms: The Government have welcomed the Pensions Commission's second report, and welcomed its proposals and options as the right basis for building the concensus we need.

The Government are in the process of examining the recommendations made by the Commission in detail. This includes recommendations on a National Pension Savings Scheme. We are consulting with the public and stakeholders on these key issues, as part of the National Pension Debate; in order to develop these ideas and test them against the criteria that we believe will deliver a lasting settlement.

At this stage of the debate no decisions have been taken on this specific recommendation, and we are ruling nothing in and nothing out.

Telephone Helplines

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many telephone calls to the Child Support Agency (a) were received, (b) received an engaged tone and (c) were disconnected during the interactive voice response process for the period April 2002 to September 2005 for (i) all calls and (ii) calls relating to the cases being progressed on the new computer system; and if he will make a statement. [24540]


 
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Mr. Plaskitt: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 19 January 2006:


 
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Number of calls received by the CSA and the outcomes of those calls April 2002 September 2005

Numbers of calls (Thousand)April 2002-March 2003April 2003-March 2004April 2004-March 2005April-September 2005
New System (CS2 old and new schemes)
Attempted customer calls to CS2 numbersn/a1,6932,9221,595
calls for which outcome not recordedn/a1254827
calls for which outcome recordedn/a1,5682,8741,569
calls that received an engaged / busy tonen/a393619
other ineffective callsn/a299439
calls abandoned / lost during the IVR processn/a362320135
calls that were answered from the queue (post IVR)n/a8912,0181,223
calls abandoned in queue (post IVR)n/a246406153
% of accounted for calls answeredn/a577078
% of calls that were answered from the queuen/a788389
Old system (CSCS—old scheme)
Attempted customer calls to CSCS numbers4,1454,3582,8151,109
calls for which outcome not recorded452000
calls for which outcome recorded4,1004,3382,8151,109
calls that received an engaged / busy toneSee note 1459903
other ineffective callsSee note 132611532
calls abandoned / lost during the IVR processn/an/an/an/a
calls that were answered from the queue (post IVR)3,1212,5252,222965
calls abandoned in queue (post IVR)5281,028389109
% of accounted for calls answered76587987
% of calls that were answered from the queue86718590
Total CSA (both schemes and systems)
Attempted customer calls to both CSCS and CS2 numbers4,1456,0515,7382,705
calls for which outcome not recorded451454827
calls for which outcome recorded4,1005,9065,6892,678
calls that received an engaged / busy toneSee note 149812621
other ineffective callsSee note 135521072
calls abandoned / lost during the IVR processn/a362320135
calls that were answered from the queue (post IVR)3,1213,4174,2402,189
calls abandoned in queue (post IVR)5281,274794261
% of accounted for calls answered76587582
% of calls that were answered from the queue86738489




Notes:
1.Total calls received exclude calls outside working hours.
2.It is not possible to break down ineffective calls into those that did or did not receive an engaged tone for old system calls in 2002–03.
3.Other ineffective calls are those that result in a ring tone but no reply, fail due to network technical problems, or are answered by a BT message but do not connect to the CSA system.
4.The figures exclude new system (CS2) calls received between April 2003 and June 2003 (of which there were 225,000) as the Agency does not hold disaggregated management information as to the outcome of these calls.
5.'Calls for which outcome not recorded', are those which were received but for which, due to problems with the Ml system, the eventual outcome was not recorded. Some of these calls would have been answered, and others would have been abandoned. The volume of such calls has decreased significantly in the last 3 years as management information systems have improved.
6.'Calls for which outcome recorded' are those which were received and for which there is management information to track the eventual outcome.
7.IVR denotes the automated touch tone part of the process where customers enter their details via the telephone key pad. Once callers have cleared this part of the process, they enter a queue to be answered by a member of CSA staff. There is no IVR process on the old system.
8.Numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand, and percentages to the nearest per cent. Components may not sum to totals due to rounding.





 
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