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Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his latest estimate is of the take-up rate of (a) savings credit only, (b) guarantee credit and savings credit and (c) all pension credit; and if he will make a statement. 
James Purnell: The latest information on the take-up of pension credit, including estimates for the separate elements of pension credit, is available in the DWP report entitled: Pension Credit Estimates of Take-Up in 2004/2005. A copy of the report is held in the Library.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many telephone calls the Pension Service has made since September 2004 to invite pensioners to explore the possibility that they may be eligible for pension credit (a) after 6.30 pm on weekdays and (b) at weekends, broken down by parliamentary constituency. 
James Purnell: Between September 2003 and March 2006, a total of 14,000 calls have been made to customers from the Pension Service inviting them to apply for pension credit on Saturday morning. No calls were made on Sunday.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many telephone calls have been made by the Pension Service informing pensioners of the possibility that they were eligible for pension credit in each month since October 2003. 
|Month||Total successful calls|
| Notes: 1. Pension credit was introduced from October 2003. 2. Data relate to the number of successful calls the Pension Service made by telephone, in order to discuss eligibility for pension credit with the customer. 3. A successful call is when the Pension Service has been able to get in touch with the customer by telephone. 4. Data are rounded to the nearest thousand.|
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners were living in relative poverty in (a) 1996-97, (b) 2003-04, (c) 2004-05 and (d) 2005-06; and if he will make a statement. 
James Purnell: The seventh annual Opportunity for all report (Cm 6673) sets out the Governments strategy for tackling poverty and social exclusion and reports progress against a range of indicators.
Specific information regarding relative low income for pensioners is available in the latest publication of the Households Below Average Income 1994/952004/05. The threshold of below 60 per cent. of relative or contemporary median income is the most commonly used in reporting trends in low income.
Figures for 1996-97, 2003-04 and 2004-05, the latest year for which figures are available, showing the number of pensioners living in households with incomes below 60 per cent. of the contemporary median, are in the following table.
|Number of pensioners living in contemporary low-income households|
|Before housing costs (million)||After housing costs (million)|
| Notes: 1. Figures are for Great Britain. 2. Results from Households Below Average Incomes publication. 3. Figures show the number and proportion of pensioners in households below 60 per cent. of median net income (after direct taxes including council tax). 4. Pensioners are all females aged 60 years or over, and all males aged 65 years or over. Source: Family Resources Survey.|
James Purnell: On 2 November the Government published the report, Women and pensions: The evidence. The report shows that today, only around 30 per cent. of women reaching state pension age (SPA) are entitled to a full basic state pension. However, womens basic state pension records are continuing to improve with the combined effect of increased labour market participation and home responsibilities protection.
We know that more needs to be done. The Pensions Commission has provided the right framework for debate and will help build consensus for delivering a long-term settlement for tomorrows pensioners, in particular, one that is fairer for women. We will bring forward our proposals in a White Paper which will be published by the end of the month.
| Notes: 1. Caseloads are rounded to the nearest 100. 2. Numbers are based on a 5 per cent. sample, and are therefore subject to a degree of sampling variation. 3. A basic state pension is paid to those who fully or partially satisfy the contribution conditions for a category A or category B pension. 4. The full basic state pension as at September 2005 was £82.05 per week. 5. Local authorities are assigned by matching postcodes against the relevant Office for National Statistics postcode directory. Source: DWP Information Directorate5 per cent. sample.|
It is important that the institute offers value for money, that it does not duplicate existing bodies and that it adds value to ensure that it will be as efficient and effective as possible. We strongly believe that the new institute must work together with the Fundamental Rights Agency rather than seek to replicate it, and in doing so aim to be budget-neutral.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the impact on post offices of the decision to end the contract for post offices to supply TV licences. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The supply of TV Licences through post offices was governed by a commercial contract between Post Office Ltd. and the BBC. The impact of the decision not to renew the contract is an operational matter for the company. I have asked Alan Cook, the Managing Director of Post Office Ltd, to reply direct to the hon. Member.
Maria Eagle: All of the Arts Council members have been in post since July 2003 with the exception of Mr. Martin Bradley who has served as a member since 1996. Mr. Bradley was subsequently appointed vice-chair to the Council in July 2003 through open competition.
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