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Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress has been made towards securing the unclaimed assets of (a) Legal and General and (b) the Prudential for the financial assistance scheme. 
James Purnell [holding answer on 19 April 2007]: On 28 March John Hutton announced a review to examine whether an alternative treatment of the residual funds in affected pension schemes and other non-public expenditure funding that have not already been allocated, could be used to increase levels of assistance above the 80 per cent. provided by the financial assistance scheme.
The review has started and is being led by Andrew Young, Directing Actuary at the Government Actuary's Department. The review team has already met some key stakeholders and will be contacting others shortly to tell them about the review and to invite their contributions. The review will provide an initial view in the summer and will then report by the end of the year.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will give consideration to the Social Security Advisory Committee's Sixth, Seventh and Eighth reports, with particular reference to the recommendation that the full rate of income support should be restored for young people under 25 years of age living away from home; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Plaskitt: Since income support was introduced in 1988, a single person aged 18 to 24 has been paid at a lower rate than single people aged 25 and over. It would be a new initiative rather than a restoration, to pay single customers aged 18 to 24 at the same rate as single customers aged 25 and over. There are no plans to change these rules.
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people were claiming Jobseekers Allowance in (a) Cheltenham and (b) all Gloucestershire constituencies in each month since March (i) without seasonal adjustment and (ii) seasonally adjusted. 
|Jobseekers allowance claimants in Gloucestershire parliamentary constituencies, without seasonal adjustment: March 2007|
1. Figures are unrounded.
2. Figures include clerically held cases.
100 per cent. count of claimants of unemployment-related benefits, Jobcentre Plus Computer Systems.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was underpaid in maternity allowances due to (a) customer error and (b) official error in each of the last five years; and how many people were affected. 
Mr. Jim Murphy [holding answer 23 April 2007]: Since 1997, claimant unemployment has fallen by 708,000 and the number of people on lone parent benefits has fallen by 230,000. We are also spending £5 billion less on unemployment than we did in 1997.
The new deal, which has helped more than 1.7 million people into work since January 1998, has contributed to this success. It has helped reduce long-term claimant unemployment to close to its lowest for 30 years and to significantly reduce long-term youth claimant unemployment.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the size of savings needed to buy an annuity for (a) a single worker and (b) a married couple to ensure a pension income that takes them above pension credit eligibility. 
James Purnell: The size of annuity required to take an individual above pension credit eligibility depends on a wide range of factors. This includes the type of annuity an individual purchases, their entitlement to basic and addition state pension, and any additional needs they may have which affect pension credit entitlement. It also depends on whether their pension will take them above pension credit eligibility at the point of retirement or over their expected lifetime and whether their pension will take them above guarantee credit only or savings credit.
Under our proposed pension reforms someone retiring in 2053 with a good contribution record (through working or caring) could expect to receive around £135 per week from the state pension on retirement (in 2005-06 earnings terms). This isfor a single personabove the end point of pension credit. Couples with good contribution records will be substantially above the end point for pension credit.
Only those on the guarantee credit alone will face pound for pound withdrawal on private saving. Someone with around 25 years of working or caring retiring in 2050 will have accrued enough state pension to bring them above the guarantee credit only. Our analysis suggests that in 2050 around 6 per cent. of all pensioners will be eligible for guarantee credit only, and only around one in 50 pensioners will retire directly onto guarantee credit only. In addition, those with small amounts of savings will be able to take them as a lump sum under the trivial commutation rules.
Mrs. McGuire: Remploys Executive Directors are permitted to pursue outside business interests, providing this does not impact on their role at Remploy and they have the permission of the Company. Non-Executive Directors are free to pursue outside business interests.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of incapacity benefit claimants returned to work within (a) two weeks, (b) one month, (c) three months and (d) six months in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
The latest Destination of Benefit Leavers Survey (2004) suggests 50 per cent. of incapacity benefit leavers returned to work of 16 hours or more in that year, higher than reported in the previous year.
|IB claim duration (weeks)||Percentage returned to/starting work of 16 hours or more|
1. Incapacity benefits include, contributory incapacity benefit and income support for the sick and disabled.
2. Leavers excludes those leaving as a result of death.
DWP Destination of Benefit Leavers 2004. Research Report no. 244
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the name of each benefit administered by his Department was in each year since 1996-97; what the level of each benefit was in each year; what the total amount paid in each benefit was in each year; what proportion of the total paid in each year was means-tested; and what the cost of administering each payment was in each year. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The name of each benefit administered by the Department, and the total amount paid in each benefit in each year, since 1996-97, can be found in benefit expenditure tables on the Department for Work and Pensions website at the following address:
The benefit names are listed in column A of table 3. Annual amounts paid in each benefit are listed from 1996-97 (column H) to 2007-08 (column S). All figures are outturn, apart from 2006-07, which are estimated outturn, and 2007-08, which are planned expenditure. The figures in table 3 are in cash terms and are rounded to the nearest million pounds. Expenditure at 2007-08 prices can be found in table 4, which is laid out exactly the same as table 3.
1. Responsibility for child benefit, guardians allowance and child's special allowance transferred to Inland Revenue, now HM Revenue and Customs, in April 2003.
2. Responsibility for war pensions transferred to the Veterans Agency in 2002-03.
The amount paid for each benefit in each year, in other words weekly benefit rates, are published each year in Statutory Instruments, as Social Security Benefits Up-rating Orders, which will be in the House of Commons Library and can be found on the Office for Public Sector Information website at the following addresses:
1997: SI 543 http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si1997/19970543.htm
1998: SI 470 http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si1998/19980470.htm
1999: SI 341 http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si1999/19990341.htm
2000: SI 440 http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2000/20000440.htm
2001: SI 207 http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2001/20010207.htm
2002: SI 668 http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2002/20020668.htm
2003: SI 526 http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2003/20030526.htm
2004: SI 552 http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2004/20040552.htm
2005: SI 522 http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2005/20050522.htm
2006: SI 645 http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2006/20060645.htm
2007: SI 688 http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/20070688.htm
Some other useful information about weekly benefit rates can be found on pages 50 to 74 of the 2005 edition of the Abstract of Statistics for Benefits, National Insurance Contributions, and Indices of Prices and Earnings, and on pages 101 to 191 of the 2004 edition of Work and Pensions Statistics (now discontinued) which can be located at the following internet addresses:
|Means tested proportion of total benefit paid in each year (percentage)|
From 1999-2000 the cost of administration is accounted for separately within the departmental expenditure limit (DEL) and the information requested on administration costs at benefit level is not available.
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