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24 Jan 2007 : Column 1879W—continued


Pensioners: Wales

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people who were living in Wales when receiving their state retirement pension subsequently moved to live abroad in each year between 1990 and 2005. [115515]

James Purnell: The information requested is not available.

Pensions

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the Basic State Pension was as a percentage of national average earnings in (a) 1981, (b) 1991, (c) 1997 and (d) 2006; what percentage it is forecast to be in 2012; and if he will make a statement; [113800]

(2) pursuant to his answer of 18 December 2006, Official Report, column 1578W, at what percentage of average earnings he expects to restore the earnings link to the basic state pension; [113931]

(3) how much the basic state pension is expressed as a percentage of national average earnings. [115916]


24 Jan 2007 : Column 1880W

James Purnell: The following table sets out the value of the basic state pension as a percentage of national average earnings in the years requested.

Value of basic state pension as a percentage earnings of national average

1981

23.7

1991

18.3

1997

17.0

2006

15.7

2012

14.2

Notes:
1. The Average Earnings figure is for full-time employees in the April of that
year and has been taken from the New Earnings Survey prior to 1998 and from Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings since 1998.
2. 2012 figures are consistent with assumptions underlying pre-Budget report 2006.
Source:
ONS

Our objective is to restore the earnings link to the basic State Pension, subject to affordability and the fiscal position, in 2012 but in any event at the latest by the end of the next parliament.

At the time the earnings link is restored, the proportion the basic State Pension represents in terms of earnings will remain constant and it will continue to hold its value over time, relative to earnings.

However, it is important not to focus on the figure that the basic State Pension represents as a percentage of average earnings in isolation.

As a result of the measures we have introduced since 1997 pensioner incomes have risen by about 25 per cent. compared to 15 per cent. for earnings. These measures have made pensioners on average £17 a week better off and the poorest third of pensioners around £30 a week better off (in 2006-07 prices) than if an earnings link had been applied to the basic State Pension from 1997.

Earnings uprating of the basic State Pension is only one part of the complete reform package. It should be considered alongside the reforms to the State Second Pension and the introduction of personal accounts for which the restoration of the earnings link provides a firm underpin.

For instance, a median earner who works from age 25 to state pension age could expect a gross income (including from a Personal Account) of just under £220 per week(1) (in 2005-06 earnings term) in 2053 under the reformed system. This equates to 43 per cent. of average earnings(2) (also in 2005-06 earnings terms).

Personal Capability Assessments

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans to consult disability organisations during the evaluation stage of the revised personal capability assessments pilots. [107353]


24 Jan 2007 : Column 1881W

Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 6 December 2006]: Limited early testing of the revised personal capability assessment (PCA) has been carried out to ensure that the new assessment accurately identifies those with limited capability for work. The evaluation of these tests is being discussed with the technical working groups and the consultative groups which comprise largely of representatives from a number of disability organisations, who advised on the transformation of the PCA. A list of the groups' membership has been placed in the Library.

Further evaluation of the revised PCA will take place in January and February 2007. During this time, we will continue to consult with the technical working groups and consultative groups who advised on the transformation of the PCA.

State Pension

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people elected not to claim their state old age pension in the most recent year for which figures are available. [114349]

James Purnell: The information requested is not available. Such information as is available indicates that 98 per cent. of pensioner benefit units were in receipt of some state pension in 2004-05. Those not in receipt may include pensioners who are deferring their state pension and those who have misreported the source of their income.

Unemployed: Background Information

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what information his Department holds on (a) qualifications held by and (b) previous occupation of those registered as unemployed. [116897]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The information requested is not available.

Winter Fuel Payments

Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many households in Leicester South are in receipt of the winter fuel payment. [114962]

James Purnell: Last winter 2005-06, 11,370 households in Leicester South constituency received a winter fuel payment. We expect the number to be similar this winter.


24 Jan 2007 : Column 1882W

Mr. Devine: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Livingston constituency received the winter fuel allowance in the last 12 months. [117500]

James Purnell: In the winter of 2005-06, 15,220 people in Livingston constituency received a winter fuel payment. Figures for this winter are not yet available but we expect the number to be similar.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans to change the qualifying dates for winter fuel payments; and if he will make a statement. [114305]

James Purnell: The qualifying week is set in legislation as the third full week in September. We use this date to establish entitlement so that payments can be made before Christmas. The Government think that making payments by Christmas every year is helpful in reassuring pensioners that they will have cash available to pay for heating their homes during the coldest part of the year. We have no plans to change the qualifying week.

Health

A and E Facilities

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations she has received on the future of accident and emergency facilities. [114355]

Andy Burnham: No recent formal representations on the future of accident and emergency (A and E) facilities have been received. However, two separate proposals for changes to A and E facilities were referred to the Secretary of State by overview and scrutiny committees in 2005.

The Secretary of State receives a very large number of letters and other correspondence from hon. Members which may mention, wholly or in part, the future of A and E facilities.

Abortions

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many abortions were carried out in the Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust area on girls aged (a) under 16 and (b) between the ages of 16 and 18 in each year since 1999. [111011]

Caroline Flint: The available information is set out in the table.


24 Jan 2007 : Column 1883W
Number of abortions to women under 19, resident in Gloucestershire( 1) PCT, 2002( 2) -05
Gloucestershire( 1) PCT Age under 16 Age 16 to 18

2002

28

159

2003

34

224

2004

52

237

2005

46

210

(1 )Gloucestershire PCT is made up of Cheltenham and Tewkesbury, Cotswold and Vale, and West Gloucestershire PCTs as published between 2002 and 2005.
(2) Information by PCT is not available prior to 2002

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many teenage abortions were recorded in the latest 12 month period for which figures are available; and what the figures were in each of the five preceding years. [117277]

Caroline Flint: The information requested is shown in the table as follows.

Abortions by age under 20, residents, England and Wales, 2000-05
Age 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005

Under 14

162

148

168

148

157

137

14

886

918

907

1,023

877

946

15

2,700

2,592

2,658

2,796

2,722

2,703

16

5,439

5,652

5,633

5,768

5,734

5,733

17

7,895

7,963

8,083

8,387

8,402

8,504

18

9,455

9,465

9,182

9,765

10,294

10,119

19

10,429

10,351

10,087

10,327

10,956

10,957

Total

36,966

37,089

36,718

38,214

39,142

39,099


Civil Emergencies

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment her Department has made of the emergency healthcare needs of areas of national industrial and strategic importance. [117168]

Andy Burnham: It is a matter for the local national health service to ensure that there is appropriate provision of urgent and emergency care services to meet people’s needs. In planning local provision of urgent and emergency care services, health communities are expected to observe the general principle that all urgent and emergency care should be delivered as close to home as is compatible with clinical safety. There is a requirement for trusts to involve and consult the public on the planning for provision of health services.


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