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8 Jan 2007 : Column 190W—continued

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people are receiving pension credit in each local authority ward in Darlington; and what the total cost was of these payments in the latest period for which figures are available. [108221]

James Purnell: The answer is set out in the following table.

Household recipients of pension credit and the cost of pension credit expenditure for wards in Darlington May 2006
Ward name Household recipients May 2006 Annual pension credit expenditure (£000)

Bank Top






Cockerton, East



Cockerton, West












Harrowgate Hill



Haughton, East



Haughton, North



Haughton, West



Heighington and Coniscliffe















Middleton St. George






North Road






Park East



Park West






Sadberge and Whessoe



Darlington local authority total



1. Expenditure figures are consistent with the pre-Budget report 2006 and are rounded to the nearest thousand.
2. The number of households in receipt are rounded to a multiple of five.
3. As a result of 1. and 2. ward totals may not sum to area totals.
4. Caseloads and average weekly amounts for May 2006 have been used to calculate the annual expenditure figures for each ward in Darlington.
5. Household recipients are those people who claim pension credit either for themselves only or on behalf of a household.
6. Wards are based on 2003 ward boundaries.
DWP Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent. data

Pension Rights: Bankruptcy

Ms Gisela Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the estimate of the cost of reinstating the pensions of those pension scheme members covered by the recommendations of the Parliamentary Ombudsman referred to in the answer of 11 July 2006, Official Report, column 1752W, on pensions, takes into account income from tax on all pensions and reductions in means-tested benefits payable. [108774]

James Purnell [holding answer 12 December 2006]: No. The length of time over which payments would be made makes it difficult to estimate what the cost would be after adjustments for increased tax revenue and reduced income-related benefit expenditure, as this would depend on the income distribution of people affected, the tax brackets they are in and their benefit entitlements.

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Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment his Department has carried out of the impact on work incentives of (a) reducing the number of qualifying years needed to receive a full basic state pension and (b) gradually reducing the link between salary and state second pension accruals. [102185]

James Purnell: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 8 November 2006, Official Report, columns 1639-40W.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate how many pensioner benefit units in 2050 will face a (a) 100 per cent. marginal rate of pension credit withdrawal if the White Paper reforms are implemented and (b) a 40 per cent. marginal withdrawal rate if they are not. [102223]

James Purnell: The information requested is in the following table. The package of reforms in the White Paper “Security in Retirement: Towards a New Pension System” is designed to:

The reforms to state pensions will provide a solid foundation for private saving, both by limiting the spread of pension credit entitlement and by delivering a simpler and more predictable state pension outcome. Under the proposed reforms, even with the standard guarantee credit linked to earnings to protect the poorest, only 6 per cent. of pensioner households will be eligible to guarantee credit only, with 94 per cent. of pensioner household above the level where private saving income is taken into account pound for pound in pension credit. Furthermore, those with private savings of less than £15,000 could take them as a lump sum under the trivial commutation rules.

The total number of pensioner households under the White Paper reforms is lower than the total number under the current system because of the phased increase in the state pension age starting in 2024.

It cannot be assumed that all those with 100 per cent. marginal deduction rates are in receipt of the guarantee credit only. People on both guarantee credit and savings credit who qualify for additional amounts and are on the savings credit maximum will also have 100 per cent. marginal deduction rates.

Numbers and proportions of pensioner benefit units in 2050 that will face: (a) a 100 per cent. marginal rate of pension credit withdrawal if the White Paper reforms are implemented and (b) a 40 per cent. marginal withdrawal rate if they are not.

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Without reform 40 per cent. marginal deduction rates?current system standard guarantee credit uprated by earnings White Paper reforms 100 per cent. marginal deduction rates?White Paper reforms

Number of pensioner households in 2050



Proportion of pensioner households in 2050 (%)



1. Estimates of the number of pensioner households eligible for pension credit are the mid-points of projections taken from two separate micro-simulation models. Modelling of the reform proposals does not include any increase in private saving from the introduction of personal accounts, which would reduce the numbers eligible for pension credit.
2. Care should be taken when interpreting these projections as they are subject to a margin of uncertainty. The projections are based on long run simulations of the incomes of individuals under a set of assumptions including life expectancy, partnership formation, earnings growth, employment rates, state and private pension accumulation.
3. Projections of the number of pensioner households eligible for pension credit are derived from the projected proportions eligible and projections of the number of pensioner households in Great Britain.
4. Estimates cover all those aged above women’s state pension age in the private household population of Great Britain.
5. Estimates account for equalisation of state pension age between 2010 and 2020. They also account for the proposed further increases in state pension age described in the White Paper. The estimates assume that the minimum age at which people can claim pension credit rises in line with women’s state pension age.
6. Projections under the White Paper proposals assume: continued earnings uprooting 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; and measures to improve coverage of state pensions described in the White Paper. Figures exclude the effect of Personal Accounts.
7. Projections under the current system with guarantee credit earnings uprated assume: continued earnings uprating of the standard minimum guarantee; continued price uprating of the savings credit threshold and the basic state pension.
DWP microsimulation modelling

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) in which overseas countries resident UK pensioners receive annual uprating of state pensions and other benefits; [104591]

(2) in which countries the (a) basic state pension and (b) other benefits of UK pensioners are not uprated annually; and how many UK pensioners are affected in each country. [104713]

James Purnell: Annual upratings of the state pension, which is generally the only benefit paid to pensioners abroad, are paid under:

The countries with which the UK has reciprocal agreements which allow state pension upratings to be paid are: Barbados, Bermuda, the Channel Islands, Cyprus, Israel, Jamaica, Malta, Mauritius, the
8 Jan 2007 : Column 193W
Philippines, Turkey, the USA and the now separate republics of the former Yugoslavia the state union of Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). State pensions are not uprated in any other country.

The information about the frozen rate countries and the number of pensioners in those countries has been placed in the Library.

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) Canadian and (b) Australian pensioners residing in the UK are in receipt of (i) pension credit and (ii) other means-tested benefits; and what the total annual cost is of these benefits to each category of pensioner. [104711]

James Purnell: The information is not available as nationality data is not collected by the Department’s administration systems.

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the Government’s position is on the possible recovery of costs from pension scheme members seeking judicial review of the Government’s policy in respect of lost occupational pension rights; and if he will make a statement. [104733]

James Purnell: As is normal practice in these matters, we will consider the issue of recovering our legal costs at the end of the proceedings.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what negotiations he has entered into with employee and employer organisations concerning Section 67 of the Pensions Act 1995; and what plans he has to allow employers and trustees of pension funds to negotiate downwards what they pay existing pensioners. [108266]

James Purnell: None.

I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave the hon. Member for Bury, North (Mr. Chaytor) on 4 December 2006, Official Report, column 161W.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what measures he is taking to encourage (a) employers with existing occupational pension schemes to maintain them and (b) those without such schemes to introduce them. [108615]

James Purnell: We value the important role that employers with occupational pension schemes play in encouraging individuals to save for their retirement. That is why the White Paper “Security in retirement: towards a new pensions system” announced a rolling deregulatory review of private pensions regulation to investigate further ways to lighten the regulatory burden on business, with a view to encouraging and strengthening existing provision.

We also said that we would remove some of the administrative complexity by abolishing contracting out for defined contribution schemes, and by allowing occupational pension schemes to convert guaranteed minimum pension rights into scheme benefits by offering the actuarial equivalent in exchange. Measures
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to achieve this are contained in the Pensions Bill recently introduced in Parliament.

We are determined that alongside the introduction of personal accounts, employers should be supported in continuing to provide occupational pension schemes. We will help by making the exemption process for high quality schemes as simple and straightforward as possible.

The Government have also lightened the regulatory burden imposed by the tax rules on schemes, and employers providing them, by bringing in key legislation in the Finance Act 2004 to replace the complex pension tax rules with one simplified regime from April 2006. Employers providing registered pension schemes for their employees continue to receive full tax relief on the value of contributions they make to those schemes.

Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the total capital value is of each private finance initiative scheme overseen by his Department which has reached financial close; over what period repayments will take place; and what the total cost of repayment will be. [103516]

Mrs. McGuire: The capital values for the combined PRIME and expanded PRIME contracts are £455 million. The contract period is 1 April 1998 to 31 March 2018.

The total repayments including rates and utilities is forecast to be £11.5 billion. The Unitary Charge element, based on actual cash payments to date plus estimated payments to the end of the contract at 2018, is estimated to be £9.7 billion. The balance between the £11.5 billion and the £9.7 billion is accounted for by rates and utility pass through costs.

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