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|Cost of industrial injuries benefits, Great Britain|
|£ millionsReal Terms, 2006-07 prices|
|Industrial disablement benefits||Industrial death benefit||Other industrial injuries benefits|
1. All figures are rounded to the nearest million pounds.
2. All figures are consistent with the Budget 2006 report.
3. Figures for 1996-97 to 2004-05 are outcome figures, for 2005-06 estimated and for 2006-07 2007-08 planned.
DWP Expenditure tables (http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd4/expenditure.asp)
James Purnell: Pension credit can be claimed up to 12 months from the date of entitlement. In practice this means that a claimant who claims today can ask for his claim to be considered from a date up to 12 months before. Provided the claimant satisfied the normal entitlement conditions during that time, pension credit will be paid for the past period.
1. The figure provided is an early estimate. The preferred data source for figures supplied by DWP is the Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS). However, the figure provided isthe latest available figure which is taken from the GMS scan at1 September 2006. These are adjusted using the historical relationship between WPLS and GMS data to give an estimate of the final WPLS figure.
2. Caseloads are rounded to the nearest 10.
3. Households are those people who claim pension credit either for themselves only or on behalf of a household.
DWP 100 per cent data from the Generalised Matching Service (GMS) Pension Credit scan taken as at 1 September 2006.
Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he has had with officials about amending the Pension Protection Fund so that it does not unfairly disadvantage scheme members who took early retirement shortly before their company went into liquidation. 
James Purnell: PPF compensation is effectively a supporting measure that only takes effect when the schemes sponsoring employer or employers have become insolvent and when the scheme itself cannot afford to pay benefits at the same level as the PPF. It is important to remember that when considering a schemes total membership, more money will be paid out by the PPF than could have been paid by the scheme.
We have carefully considered the issues that have been raised by and on behalf of a number of early retirees. We have taken particular account of the need
for PPF compensation to balance fairness to scheme members, and remain affordable for pension schemes paying the PPF levy. We have concluded that changing the PPF compensation rules would advantage one group of scheme members compared to other groups, and could increase the cost of the PPF. We do not, therefore, propose to change PPF legislation at this time.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost of consultations by his Department on reform of the UK pension system has been since May 2005; and if he will make a statement. 
James Purnell: As part of the normal policy development process Ministers and civil servants have met a wide range of people and organisations and have participated in discussions and debates, both face-to-face and on-line, on pensions reform. I have also made a number of visits around the country; providing an opportunity for regional stakeholders and members of the public to discuss the reforms.
The National Pensions Debate, including regional events, National Pensions Day events, the website survey, the stakeholder toolkit and analysis of National Pensions Debate feedback, cost just over £1 million.
A series of seminars and summits to explore in detail the proposals on the key issues surrounding the policy design and implementation for personal accounts cost £72,500.
The White Paper Security in retirement: towards a new pension system which set out the Governments proposals for reform and the companion regulatory impact assessment cost £278,000 to publish and distribute.
The cost of Security in retirement: towards a new pension systemsummary of responses to the consultation, published and distributed on 30 October, was £25,000.
The On-line Pensions Forum which was set up at the end of July to help broaden understanding and discussion of the reform proposals has cost £500.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions (a) he and (b) his officials have had with employer representatives on section 67 of the Pensions Act 1995 in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
The aim of the review is to make the private pensions regulatory framework simpler and less burdensome. An external advisory group has been established to assist with the review. The CBI are represented on this group and DWP officials attend the meetings. There have been three meetings of the group to date, and accrued rights is one of several issues that have been discussed.
Nothing is ruled out of the review for consideration for change in the future, and nothing is ruled in, but it will need to strike a balance between protecting members benefits and encouraging employer provision by lightening regulation.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent discussions his Department has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on womens pensions; and if he will make a statement. 
The provisions in the Bill will accelerate improvements in womens state pension outcomes. Around three quarters of women reaching state pension age in 2010 are projected to be entitled to a full basic state pension under our reforms compared to around half without reform.
Further, a woman, reaching state pension age around 2050, who works or cares for around 40 years could build up a state pension of around £135 a week (in 2005-06 earnings terms)£20 more than the pension credit standard minimum guarantee.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what factors he took into account when deciding (a) the tax treatment of the winter fuel payment and (b) whether the winter fuel payment should be means-tested. 
James Purnell: The winter fuel payment was first introduced in winter 1997-98 at the rate of £20 and has now increased to £200 per household for those aged 60 to 79 and £300 per household for those aged 80 or over.
The objective of the winter fuel payment is to provide pensioners with significant assistance with their bills during the colder winter months. Consequently, it was decided that the payment should be neither taxable nor related to household income. Policy for taxation is of course a matter for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the services provided by the specialist burns unit at Alder Hey Children's Hospital; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: A nationwide review of specialist burns services is being carried out by the national health service-led national burn care group. As part of this review the specialist burns unit at Alder Hey was visited by a small multi-disciplinary team from the NHS on 19 October 2006. That team rated the service provided as very good.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Departments requirements for the standards of care provided by care home operators are set out in the Care Homes Regulations 2001 and associated national minimum standards (NMS). Copies are available in the Library.
Care homes in England are inspected and regulated by the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) to ensure that they comply with the regulations. CSCI must take the NMS, which apply across the country and are intended to ensure consistency in the quality of services, into account when inspecting care homes and has a range of powers to ensure that operators can be required to make any necessary improvements to the quality of services.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether there is a national minimum per capita sum for the provision of food for residents of care homes; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: No. The Care Homes Regulations 2001 require homes to provide, in adequate quantities, suitable, wholesome and nutritious food which is varied and properly prepared and available at such time as may reasonably be required by service users.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 23 November 2006, Official Report, column 225W, on contaminated NHS blood products, how decisions are made on the communication of information on possible risks and the protection of public health. 
Caroline Flint: In January this year, the Department submitted a memorandum of evidence to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee Inquiry into the Government's policy on the management of risk. This sets out the Department's approach to managing risk.
Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what public consultation has taken place on the introduction of Corporate and Transactional Shared Services in Lancashire and Cumbria. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Formal consultation with local overview and scrutiny committees is being undertaken by the national health service. This is part of an ongoing programme of engagement with local stakeholders.
The former Cumbria and Lancashire Strategic Health Authority also commissioned engagement work to be undertaken by MORI in summer 2006 with the public and local clinicians, to find out what is important to patients in Cumbria and Lancashire and to use this information to help develop the clinical assessment and treatment service.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The local strategic health authority, jointly with its commissioners, took the decision to introduce the clinical assessment and treatment service into Cumbria and Lancashire as a response to the need of the local health economy to invest in additional capacity and at the same time improve care pathways and value for money.
Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the effects of introducing Corporate and Transactional Shared Services on NHS hospitals trusts in Lancashire and Cumbria. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Introducing the clinical assessment and treatment service is part of a redesign of the care pathway and is expected to reduce the number of patients referred to acute trusts who do not need the specialist skills of secondary care or an elective procedure as part of an integrated modern clinical pathway.
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