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8 Feb 2007 : Column 1230W—continued

Pensions

Dr. Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what estimate he has made of the amounts which trustees of the pensions scheme which have already completed winding up and for whom annual payments have started have charged each scheme, per member, for registering, qualifying and liaising with Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) staff and for submitting data and completing application forms for FAS payments; [110974]

(2) what the average cost incurred by those independent trustees who have been asked to provide information on the costs which they have charged to pension schemes as a result of complying with the notification, qualification and member registration criteria of the Financial Assistance Scheme was for each pension scheme; [110982]

(3) what estimate he has made of the average reductions in pension for non-qualifying scheme members as a result of trustees charging for providing information to notify, qualify and apply for payments for qualifying members under the Financial Assistance Scheme. [110983]

James Purnell: The information is not available in the form requested. The Department estimated the costs that might be incurred by trustees, scheme administrators
8 Feb 2007 : Column 1231W
and insurers in providing data as a Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) published on 4 April 2005 as part of the Consultation Document on the Financial Assistance Scheme Draft Regulations 2005. This was placed in the Library of the House.

This estimated that the cost of providing information to determine scheme eligibility might be around £250 per scheme. The costs for providing member data might vary from £15 to £75 per member depending on the how easy the data was to obtain. The costs for each scheme would also depend on the size of the scheme. The RIA concluded that the total cost of providing FAS with member data would be between £2 million and £3.4 million, which in relation to the 70,000 to 80,000 affected members we might expect to need data on to establish the full extent of losses, works out at between £24 and £40 per member.

Dr. Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what advice is available to members of winding up pension schemes who are offered deemed buyback to assist them with their decision. [110975]

James Purnell: We have recently produced a deemed buyback fact sheet which gives information on the subject. This gives a brief explanation of deemed buyback and some of the issues that may need to be considered when deciding whether or not to adopt the option. This fact sheet will be sent by the National Insurance Contributions Office to anyone identified as qualifying for reinstatement. Only organisations registered with the Financial Services Authority are able to give financial advice.

Dr. Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what information his Department has obtained to assess the loss of contracted out state pension rights among members of pension schemes which started winding up between 1997 and 2005. [110980]

James Purnell: The information requested is not available. An estimate of the total amount of pension rights (including where relevant, contracted out rights) lost by members of pension schemes which started winding up between 1 April 1997 and 5 April 2005 was given in the annexe to the Government's response to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman “Trusting In The Pensions Promise”, which was published in June 2006.

Dr. Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the potential costs to public funds of use of deemed buyback by members of pension schemes which started winding up between 1997 and 2004. [110981]

James Purnell: It is extremely difficult to produce an estimate to reasonable standards of reliability due to the lack of sufficient base data. Such estimates as we have are given in the following table. It must be emphasised that these figures are subject to high levels of uncertainty and therefore can be taken as a guide to potential costs only. The estimates assume, among other things, all those who qualify for deemed buyback will take up the option. They show a short-term
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increase in the funds being paid into the national insurance fund, followed by rising costs as the higher state benefit is paid out.

Deemed buyback policy cost estimate, £ million in nominal prices
Additional pension cost Transfer received Total annual cost

2007-08

15

-50

-40

2008-09

15

-50

-35

2009-10

15

-50

-35

2010-11

15

-50

-35

2011-12

15

-50

-35

2012-13

20

20

2013-14

20

20

2014-15

20

20

2015-16

20

20

2016-17

25

25

2017-18

25

25

2018-19

30

30

2019-20

30

30

2020-21

30

30

2021-22

30

30

2022-23

30

30

2023-24

30

30

2024-25

30

30

2025-26

30

30

2026-27

30

30

2027-28

30

30

2028-29

30

30

2029-30

30

30

2030-31

30

30

2031-32

25

25

2032-33

25

25

2033-34

25

25

2034-35

25

25

2035-36

20

20

2036-37

20

20

2037-38

20

20

2038-39

20

20

2039-40

15

15

2040-41

15

15

2041-42

15

15

2042-43

15

15

2043-44

10

10

2044-45

10

10

2045-46

10

10

Notes:
Figures are rounded to the nearest £5 million and therefore may not sum.

Pensions: Information

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the merits of sending out payment advice and documentation for the state pension via e-mail. [120004]

James Purnell: The Pension Service is undergoing a transformation programme to make the best use of technology and new services in order to improve customer service and to increase efficiency and accuracy. An example of improvements already made is that customers can now claim their state pension entirely over the telephone, without the need to sign a claim form. Customers can also claim pension credit,
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housing benefit and council tax benefit in the same telephone call if appropriate, giving them access to four benefits in one call.

We are constantly seeking to improve electronic communication channels with our customers. The full range of internet and e-mail possibilities is being considered with due regard to costs, benefits and security implications.

Renewable Energy

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much energy consumed by his Department is acquired from renewable sources. [106156]

Mr. Plaskitt: The Department for Work and Pensions uses gas, electricity and oil to meet its energy needs. Of these utilities, electricity is the only one that can be acquired from renewable sources.

The latest available figures for 2005-06 show that the Department consumed 327,460,763 kWh of electricity. Of this, 175,174,178 kWh were acquired from renewable sources. This accounts for 53.5 per cent. of the total electricity consumption.

State Pension

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 19 January 2007, Official Report, column 1437W, on state pension national insurance contributions, what estimate he has made of how many women, to the nearest 10,000, began to receive state pension in each financial year from 1979-80 to 2004-05; and how many of those women had the number of qualifying years of national insurance contributions needed to earn a full basic state pension reduced by the operation of home responsibilities protection in respect of past receipt of child benefit. [111284]

James Purnell [holding answer 25 January 2007]: The information available is set out in the following table. The second column of the table shows the number of women aged 60 in each financial year from 1985-86 to 2004-05 with some entitlement to basic state pension. The third column shows how many of these women had the number of qualifying years needed to earn a full basic state pension reduced by the operation of home responsibilities protection.


8 Feb 2007 : Column 1234W
Number of women with some entitlement to basic state pension Number of women with home responsibilities protection

1985-86

240,000

10,000

1986-87

210,000

20,000

1987-88

210,000

20,000

1988-89

210,000

20,000

1989-90

200,000

20,000

1990-91

220,000

30,000

1991-92

200,000

30,000

1992-93

180,000

30,000

1993-94

190,000

40,000

1994-95

190,000

50,000

1995-96

210,000

60,000

1996-97

210,000

60,000

1997-98

230,000

70,000

1998-99

230,000

70,000

1999-2000

240,000

80,000

2000-01

240,000

90,000

2001-02

250,000

100,000

2002-03

290,000

120,000

2003-04

310,000

140,000

2004-05

330,000

160,000

Notes:
1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10,000.
2. Figures refer to women living in the UK and overseas.
3. Information at this level of detail is not reliable before 1985.
4. Figures refer to entitlement based on women's own contribution record.
5. Some women who reach state pension age in a particular year with some entitlement to basic state pension may defer their entitlement and claim in a later year.
Source:
Lifetime Labour Market Database 2, 2003-04

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