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Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what factors he intends to take into account in deciding the date from which state second pension accruals will become flat-rate; and within what period of years he expects this to occur. 
James Purnell: If state second pension remained unchanged, it would become a flat-rate benefit around 2056. However, in line with the recommendation of the Pensions Commission, we have put in place the means to accelerate this eventuality. Through the measures introduced in the Pensions Bill the state second pension will become completely flat-rate in around 2030. We believe this strikes the appropriate balance between moving quickly to flat-rate provision, and providing a transitional period where some earnings-related compulsion remains for a period while personal accounts bed in.
Mrs. Dean: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what independent research he plans to carry out to ensure that the new Personal Capability Assessment is a fit and robust assessment of limited capability for work; 
Mr. Jim Murphy: We are carrying out a two-part evaluation to ensure that the revised Personal Capability Assessment (PCA) constitutes a fair, robust and evidence-based assessment of limited capability for work.
A second, larger, evaluation is due to commence in March 2007. It will enable us to refine the recommendations of the working groups and will ensure that this is reflected in the draft regulations before they are completed.
Both of these evaluations are being carried out by independent experts from the technical working groups who advised us on the transformation of the PCA, in liaison with medical staff from DWP and Atos Origin. The second-stage evaluation will also involve representatives of the overarching consultative group involved in the PCA review.
We will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the revised PCA following its implementation from 2008. For the first two years after it is implemented we will involve in its ongoing evaluation the independent experts from the technical working groups. Those
independent experts will remain in place to offer assessment, challenge and observations about the operation of the revised PCA during the first two years.
Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the proportion of (a) men and (b) women in each age group who are employed and contracted in to the state second pension. 
|Age||All||Number employed||Number contracted into S2P||Proportion employed||Proportion contracted into S2P|
1. Employed is defined as having done at least 1 hour of paid or unpaid work in the week in which the Labour Force Survey was undertaken.
2. Entitlement to state second pension depends on earnings or the award of certain credits.
3. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10,000.
Life Time Labour Market Database (LLMDB), 2003/04; DWP Labour Market Statistics, spring quarter 2004
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Darlington received the winter fuel allowance in each year since its introduction; and what the cost was in each year. 
James Purnell: Information relating to winter fuel payments for the winters of 1997-98 and 1998-99 is not available. The information from winter 1999-2000 is in the following table. Figures for this winter are not yet available but we expect them to be similar to those for 2005-06.
|Payments made||Amount paid (£ million)|
1. Figures for payments made rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Figures for amount paid rounded to the nearest £100,000.
3. The winter fuel payment was £100 in the year 1999-2000, rising to £200 from the following year.
4. Payments are made at different rates and although caseloads may be similar the total expenditure may vary due to associated factors such as the breakdown of shared and full payments issued and rounding.
5. Parliamentary constituencies are assigned by matching postcodes against the relevant ONS postcode directory.
Information Directorate 100 per cent. sample.
|Offences of arson recorded by the police by London borough|
|(1) The National Crime Recording Standard was introduced on 1 April 2002.|
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