Previous Section Index Home Page

18 Sep 2006 : Column 2472W—continued

18 Sep 2006 : Column 2473W
Table 2: Projected number of males and females that may be in receipt of pension credit in selected years under the White Paper proposals
GC only GC+SC SC only

Males currently aged 65 or over









Females currently aged 60 or over









Notes: 1. Projections of numbers receiving pension credit in the future are subject to a range of uncertainties and a number of factors including policies on uprating different benefits and assumptions on rates of take-up. The assumptions applied here are consistent with those that underpin published long-run expenditure projections, and are applied to projections of the number of pensioner households estimated to be eligible for pension credit. 2. Care should be taken when interpreting these projections. In particular data deficiencies make it difficult to be confident in the split between the number of people who may be in receipt of only the guarantee credit and those who may be in receipt of both the guarantee credit and the savings credit. Also the projections are sensitive to the assumed take-up rates (the same assumptions on the rate of take-up are applied to the current and reform projections). 3. Estimates of the proportion of pensioners eligible for pension credit are the mid-points of projections taken from two separate micro-simulation models. 4. The projections of the number of pensioners eligible for pension credit are sensitive to modelling assumptions and to projected changes in the distribution of pensioner incomes. 5. The projections of the number of male pensioners currently aged over 65 years who may be eligible for pension credit in 2010 have been derived from projections of the proportion of males aged 69+ in 2010 who may be eligible and projections of the number of males aged 69+ in Great Britain in 2010. A similar procedure was followed in estimating the number who may be eligible in 2012 and the number of females currently aged over 60 years who may be eligible in 2010 and 2012. 6. The reform projections assume: continued earnings uprating of the standard guarantee credit; the savings credit maximum is uprated by earnings from 2008 and then by prices from 2015; earnings uprating of the basic state pension from 2012; measures to improve coverage of the basic state pension described in the White Paper. 7. The projections in Table 1 assume that basic state pension is uprated in line with prices and the standard guarantee credit with prices each year after 2008. It should be noted that there is a Government commitment to uprate the standard guarantee credit with earnings until 2008. Treasury projections for the current system assume price uprating of the standard guarantee credit beyond 2008. 8. Estimates are calibrated to the mid-points of the 2004-5 National Statistics range estimates of non-eligibility to pension credit, which adjust 2004-5 Family Resources Survey data to take account of possible biases in reporting. Although the estimates here are not presented as ranges, they are subject to a margin of uncertainty. 9. The projections are rounded to the nearest 50,000. 10. Qualifying age for the guarantee credit will increase with women's state pension age between 2010 and 2020, from 60 to 65.

Post Office Card Accounts

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people who use post office card accounts to receive benefits and pensions are aged (a) under 60, (b) 60 to 69, (c) 70 to 79 and (d) 80 and above. [57785]

Mr. Plaskitt: The information is not available in the format requested.

The following table shows the number of DWP benefit and pension payment accounts being paid by direct payment into a Post Office card account at 10 June 2006.

These figures do not include Post Office card accounts used by other Government Departments to pay benefits and tax credits.

18 Sep 2006 : Column 2474W
Age Benefit and pension accounts

Under 60






80 and over


Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Figures refer to benefit and pension payment accounts live and in payment on the specified date. People in receipt of more than one benefit/pension have been counted for each separate benefit/pension in payment. People who have their benefit/pension combined and paid at the same time have only been counted through the paying benefit.

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will ensure that pensioners whose pension credit is paid via a Post Office card account are not advised that they must have a bank account to receive their awards in the future. [87948]

Mr. Plaskitt: Pensioners do not have to have a bank account to receive pension credit. However, we have always made it clear that payment into a bank account is the best option for the overwhelming majority of customers, and so it is only right that we alert customers to the fact that there are accounts that may better meet their needs. For example, many are missing out on the savings that direct debits can bring and on interest paid on balances. Around 25 different bank accounts can be accessed at Post Office branches now. The Post Office has already introduced one new account—the Instant Saver—and plans to introduce more new accounts in the future.


Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what average redundancy payment has been made to staff declared redundant within his Department and the agencies for which it is responsible since 6 April 2004. [82517]

Mrs. McGuire: As part of its Efficiency Programme the Department has run a number of staff early release schemes since April 2004. All but one early release under these schemes has been on a voluntary basis.

To the end of March 2006, the average full cost of early releases under all these schemes was around £56,000.

Welfare Reform Bill

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what advice he has received from the Health Professionals Advisory Group on the likely effect of sanctions proposed in the Welfare Reform Bill which could result in disabled people losing benefit. [90608]

Mr. Jim Murphy [holding answer 11 September 2006]: The Health Professionals Advisory Group is a body of senior healthcare professionals, set up to advise Ministers and officials on the Department's work to help people with health conditions or disabilities to enter, remain in or return to work.

The Group has not discussed benefit sanctions or the likely impact of any such sanctions.

18 Sep 2006 : Column 2475W

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans she has to ratify Protocol V of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons Treaty prior to the Review Conference to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in November. [91191]

Dr. Howells: The UK aims to complete ratification of Protocol V, concerning explosive remnants of war, of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) by the CCW Review Conference in November.

EU Maritime Policy

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the EU Commission Green Paper, Towards a Future Maritime Policy for the Union, what her policy is on the applicability of EU policy and legislation to the territorial waters of overseas territories of member states. [91179]

Mr. McCartney: The EC Treaty, other than Part IV on the Association of Overseas Countries and Territories, does not apply to the Overseas Territories of the United Kingdom, except to Gibraltar to which it applies by virtue of Article 299 (4) EC Treaty. As the legal base for any legislation arising out of the Maritime Green Paper would be likely to be under Article 175 (1), an environmental legal base, it would not apply to the majority of the United Kingdom's Overseas Territories. However, the Government and the Governments of the other Overseas Territories would want to consider whether it would be appropriate and feasible to apply similar measures based on EC legislation through the Territories' domestic legislation.

European Parliament

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what her policy is on the maintenance of a seat of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. [91180]

Mr. Hoon: The splitting of the European Parliament site between Strasbourg and Brussels is far from ideal. However, there is an historical and legal basis for the siting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, as agreed at the Edinburgh summit 1992, and any changes would require the unanimous support of all 25 EU member states. Unfortunately, we do not believe that the necessary political unanimity for such a change currently exists.

International Criminal Court

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will review the operating procedures of the International Criminal Court following the pleas by some Governments and organisations to seek clemency in the case of those Lords Resistance Army bodies who have been indicted. [91204]

18 Sep 2006 : Column 2476W

Dr. Howells: The UK has long worked for a peaceful solution to the long running conflict in Northern Uganda. The recent cessation of hostilities and ongoing negotiations relating to Northern Uganda are a promising step. However, it is clear that there is much work still to be done to bring a sustainable peace to the region.

The UK, along with the rest of the EU, is a strong supporter—in principle and in practice—of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which was established to prosecute the most serious crimes of international concern. In July 2004, the ICC launched an investigation into the situation in Northern Uganda, following referral of the situation by the Government of Uganda. In October 2005, the ICC unsealed warrants for the arrest of five senior members of the Lord's Resistance Army.

The operating procedures of the ICC, including the issue of warrants, are a matter for the Court and we respect its independence. We urge all parties to fulfil their obligations under the Statute of the Court. The ICC has made clear that it is following developments closely and remains in close contact with the Government of Uganda and the wider international community.


Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with her (a) United Nations, (b) European Union and (c) United States counterparts on the Iranian nuclear dispute; whether the issue of possible United Nations sanctions against Iran was raised during these discussions; and whether the UK Government will support the application of such sanctions if Iran fails to comply with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1690. [91048]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 13 September 2006]: I have discussed Iran many times with my counterparts in the EU, US and other countries, both in the run-up to the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1696 on 31 July and subsequently.

Resolution 1696 called on Iran to take the steps required by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors and made mandatory on Iran a full suspension of all uranium enrichment related and reprocessing activities. The Security Council asked the IAEA Director-General, Dr. Mohammed El-Baradei, to report on Iranian compliance by 31 August. The Council expressed its intention to “adopt appropriate measures under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations” if Iran did not comply.

Dr. El-Baradei's report makes clear that Iran has not suspended its enrichment related and reprocessing activities, nor taken the other steps required by the IAEA Board. We are now discussing next steps with our EU and Security Council partners.

We remain committed to a diplomatic solution, and continue to urge Iran to take the steps required by the Security Council and the IAEA Board, reinstate a full suspension and return to negotiations on the basis of the proposals presented by the “E3+3” (France, Germany, UK + China, Russia, US) on 6 June.

18 Sep 2006 : Column 2477W

Middle East

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance she (a) has given and (b) plans to offer to the state of Israel to assist that country in fighting (i) Hezbollah terrorists and (ii) other terrorism; and if she will make a statement. [87101]

Dr. Howells: The Government are engaged in building bilateral and multilateral relationships and work closely with a wide range of countries on counter-terrorism. There is close co-operation between many UK organisations, including the police, security and intelligence agencies and Whitehall Departments, with many other countries. It is not the normal practice of the Government to comment on the specifics of such matters. To do so can harm operational effectiveness, assist the terrorists and damage co-operative relationships beneficial to the UK's own security.

UN General Assembly

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which officials from her Department will be attending the opening session of the 61st UN General Assembly in New York on 12 September. [91193]

Dr. Howells: Officials from the UK Permanent Mission to the UN attended the first meeting of the 61st UN General Assembly on 12 September.

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, my noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, my right hon. Friend the Minister for Europe and I plan to attend UN General Assembly (UNGA) Ministerial Week (19-22 September). Most of the UN's 192 member states are sending their Head of Government, State or Foreign Minister. As the largest annual gathering of senior foreign policy makers, it is an important opportunity to take forward the Government's foreign policy priorities.

There will be a large number of multilateral events in the margins of the main UNGA Plenary. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Ministers will participate in all the major events, and will also hold more than 60 separate bilateral meetings with key UN partners. As is usual, Ministers will be supported by FCO officials from the UK Permanent Mission to the UN and from London.

UN Human Rights Council

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will place in the Library a draft of the next report by the UK to UN Human Rights Council. [91078]

Mr. McCartney [holding answer 13 September 2006]: The new UN Human Rights Council is in the early stages of discussing a new system of Universal Periodic Review. The details of this Review—including whether and how states might submit reports—are still under discussion.

18 Sep 2006 : Column 2478W

The UK's next periodic report to the UN Human Rights Committee, under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, is due in November 2006. Following its submission to the Committee, the Department for Constitutional Affairs will make the report available on its website:

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

CFC Recovery Rates

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if he will publish the figures for CFC recovery from domestic and commercial appliances for each of the last 10 years; and what estimate he has made of performance in 2006; [91144]

(2) how many tonnes of the CFCs recovered by UK licensed facilities have been (a) destroyed and (b) processed to render them harmless to the environment in each year since 1990. [91145]

Ian Pearson: The following information is available on the recovery of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) from all equipment:










Next Section Index Home Page