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Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many national insurance numbers on the Departmental Central Index related to people (a) now deceased, (b) who live abroad and receive no benefits, (c) who live abroad and receive benefits and (d) aged under 16 years in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what strategies have been (a) developed and (b) implemented by his Department since June 2001 to ensure that national insurance numbers are issued, used and controlled consistently. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The Department is committed to ensuring that national insurance numbers (NINOs) are issued, used and controlled correctly. We will continue to develop and implement strategies and processes to enable us to achieve this commitment.
In April 2001, we introduced the Secure NINO allocation process which guards against identity fraud. This process ensures a consistent robust approach to NINO allocation for both benefit and employment-related applications for a NINO. It includes face-to-face interviews to build up a picture of an individual's circumstances. Document examination checks are applied to ensure the authenticity of any documentary evidence provided in support of the application; and there are corroborative checks with third parties to verify information supplied during the interview. Only when we are satisfied as to the individual's identity will a NINO be allocated.
From July 2006 a right to work pre-condition for all employment-related NINO applications was introduced. This prevents anyone who does not have the right to work from being allocated a NINO for employment purposes.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many cases his Department discovered where (a) an individual was using more than one national insurance number and (b) a number was used by more than one individual in each year since 2001. 
Mr. Plaskitt: When a person applies for a national insurance number (NINO), full identity checks are carried out at a face-to-face interview. If there is any suspicion around the validity of the identity documents, they are referred to the National Identity Fraud Unit (NIFU).
If NIFU are advised of a NINO being used by another person, the account is flagged as having a NIFU interest. If there is any benefit activity on that account, action is taken immediately to investigate suspected fraud.
|Individuals found to be using more than one national insurance number|
|Number of cases|
|Cases of a national insurance number being used by more than one individual|
|Number of cases|
Departmental Central Index frontline services
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will place in the Library the guidance notes he issues to civil servants on answering written parliamentary questions. 
The Pension Service Local Service offers face-to-face visits to the most eligible and vulnerable pensioners during which full benefit entitlement checks are carried out. One million home visits will be carried out during 2006-07.
30,834 effective visits were completed within the Edinburgh and West Lothian cluster from April 2006 to December 2006, resulting in 825 pension credit applications. Of those, 446 awards were made between April 2006 and September 2006.
We are broadening the appeal of pension credit by focusing our contacts with pensioners much more on their needs as a whole. The Pension Service Local Service is continuing to work very closely with local partners (including local authorities and voluntary organisations such as Help the Aged and Age Concern) to maximise take up of pension credit. We are widening the scope of partnership activity and expanding our current work programme with key utilities and other major companies whose customers include likely eligible non-recipients to pension credit. These activities are being supported by national press advertising to maintain the high profile of pension credit. Local marketing and media campaigns will be targeted in those regions and areas where there are relatively high numbers of eligible non-recipients.
In addition, we are improving our service and encouraging take up by enabling new customers who call to claim their state pension, to also apply for pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit in a single call if appropriate.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the basis is for the increase in the projected cost of employed contributions to personal accounts from £2.6 billion to £2.8 billion, as set out on page 102 of the White Paper Personal Accounts: a new way to save. 
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the basis is for the projected increase in set-up and running costs to employers of the personal accounts scheme as set out on page 106 of the White Paper Personal Accounts: a new way to save. 
James Purnell: The Government have revised the estimate using the standard cost model to reflect refined assumptions about the detailed processes employers will need to undertake to set up and run a personal accounts scheme and the time that these will take (annex 1 of the regulatory impact assessment, Personal Accounts: a new way to save provides details).
As explained in the regulatory impact assessment, Personal Accounts: a new way to save, a degree of uncertainty remains due to the sensitivity of this estimate to assumptions made. The cross-government analytical group mentioned in the regulatory impact assessment, Personal Accounts: a new way to save (paragraph 4.104) has been set up and is continuing to work to refine these assumptions and estimates.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will reconsider his decision to set the annual contribution limit to personal accounts at a minimum of £5,000; and if he will commission research into the impact of a range of alternative contribution limits on existing pension funds. 
James Purnell: The White Paper, Personal Accounts: a new way to save, was clear that this was an issue for further consultation and we look forward to receiving a range of analysis and views on this issue. The final decision will balance the twin aims of focusing personal accounts on moderate to low earners and allowing sufficient flexibility for individuals within the scheme who wish to save more.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the impact of the contribution limit of £10,000 in the first year of personal accounts proposed in the White Paper Personal Accounts: a new way to save on the level of saving between 2008-09 to 2012-13. 
James Purnell: The Government are keen to create the right environment for retirement saving, both in the run-up to the implementation of automatic enrolment and personal accounts in 2012, and beyond. Following the publication of the White Paper Personal accounts: a new way to save, the Government are consulting on an annual contribution limit into a personal account of £5,000, in order to focus the new scheme on the target market. However, the White Paper proposed a higher limit, of £10,000, in the first year of personal accounts, in order to help any individuals with accumulated non-pension savings to consolidate that saving into their personal account. We will continue to work with stakeholders in the financial services industry and elsewhere in examining this and other ways of promoting saving in the period before 2012.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the impact on the final personal account pension fund of an individual on median earnings aged (a) 25, (b) 35 and (c) 45 of phasing in employer contributions to personal accounts proposed in the White Paper Personal Accounts: a new way to save over (i) four years, (ii) five years and (iii) six years. 
The minimum employer contribution of 3 per cent. will be included in the primary legislation that establishes personal accounts. This minimum contribution will be phased in over three years: 1 per cent. in the year personal accounts is launched, rising to 2 per cent. in second year, then 3 per cent. in year three, which will continue in perpetuity. A three-year phased introduction of contribution will help
employers adjust during the introduction of personal accounts, while enabling individuals to achieve scheme minimum saving levels as soon as possible.
|Age in 2012||Final pension pot with three year phasing||Final pension pot with four year phasing||Final pension pot with five year phasing||Final pension pot with six year phasing|
1. This figure is for illustrative purposes only. It should not be used as the basis for individual decisions as specific circumstances or variation from the underlying assumptions will lead to different results.
2. The base assumptions used here are the same as those underpinning the analysis in Financial incentives to save for retirement (which are detailed in Appendix A of this publication).
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he made of the possibility of using a fixed annual management charge rather than one based on a percentage of fund size for personal accounts as proposed in the White Paper Personal Accounts: a new way to save. 
Simple and easy to understand (for example, easily comparable to other pension products in the market);
Fair to all members, taking into account an individual's ability to pay;
Incentivises the scheme operator to maximise the fund value;
Incentivises members to help keep costs down; and
Provides significant revenue in the early years of operation, thus reducing the amount and length of operating losses, and reducing financing costs.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department paid to recruitment agencies for the hire of temporary staff in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. McGuire: Since its formation in June 2001 until July 2006, the Department's business units made their own arrangements to engage temporary staff. Therefore information about payments to recruitment agencies during this period is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Plaskitt [holding answer 5 February 2007]: The direct payments scheme is run by the Department of Health. Cash payments are made in lieu of social service provisions to individuals who have been assessed as needing services.
The Department for Work and Pensions operates the direct payment system, which is the branding for paying benefits and pensions directly into bank accounts. More than 98 per cent. of all DWP customers are paid this way.
The information relating to disabled people is not available in the requested format. But we do know that in December 2006 around 97 per cent. of customers (just over 3 million people) who have their benefits paid by the Disability and Carers Service were paid into an account.
|Customers with all of their benefits paid by direct payment||Customers with some of their benefits paid by direct payment||Total paid by direct payment|
1. Figures have been provided by DWP Information Directorate from a scan run in November of each of the five years.
2. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
3. Child benefit is now administered by HMRC and War Pensions is now administered by MOD. These benefits have therefore been excluded.
4. Figures for 2003-06 include Post Office card accounts. The Post Office card account was introduced in April 2003.
5. The numbers paid via direct payment increase significantly from 2003 onwards because the Government migrated customers from order books to direct payment between 2003 and 2005.
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