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Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will take action to ensure that people living abroad and eligible for UK pensions receive increases in pensions in line with domestic pensioners; and if he will make a statement. 
A state pension claim pack is sent out to all customers, four months and four days before their state pension age. This includes information on pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit.
Winter fuel payments are made to people aged 60 or over (men and women). Over 99 per cent. of the payments are made automatically without the need to claim. Some people who are not in receipt of a benefit administered by DWP need to claim. Each year we send claim forms automatically to everyone who we know from departmental records will be aged 60 by the end of the qualifying week and for whom we have a current address. An extensive publicity campaign begins in July and includes advertisements in both regional and national newspapers.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his estimate is of what the cost to the Government would have been in each year had pensions been linked to earnings rather than prices since 1997. 
|Basic state pension cost (£ billion)|
| Note: Figures are net in cash terms, are rounded to the nearest million and include UK and overseas pensions Source: DWP modelling.|
The earnings link will be restored to the basic state pension. The objective is that this will be done, subject to affordability and the fiscal position, in 2012 but in any event at the latest by the end of the next Parliament.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what closures of Remploy sites are planned; how many (a) employees and (b) agency workers there are at each site; and what he expects the costs to be of the closures; 
Mrs. McGuire: In my statement on 19 July 2006 I said I would be asking the board of Remploy to undertake the preliminary work to bring forward later this year a five-year restructuring plan with proposals both to modernise the business and to support substantially larger numbers of disabled people into work. It is currently working on that plan.
Mrs. McGuire: As Remploy is a non-departmental public body, the senior management salaries are subject to a pay remit process, which requires that pay increases are within Treasury limits for public sector pay. Remploy pay remits require the approval of the Secretary of State, on behalf of the Treasury. The Remploy senior management pay remit for 2007-08 is currently being considered.
|Senior management pay remit increases|
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of employees returned to work following an absence caused by illness or injury lasting up to (a) two weeks, (b) one month, (c) three months and (d) six months in the last period for which figures are available. 
The available information is contained in the following table. It was obtained from
the computer systems that managers use to record absences. The figures are for the period 1 January 2006- 31 December 2006.
The table shows two sets of figures broken down into length of absence where the employee returned to work during the period. The first shows all recorded sickness absences, while the second shows absences recorded as injury and poisoning. It is not possible to show the number and percentage of employees returning from sickness absences of different durations because some employees have had more than one absence during the period; therefore, the figures show the number of absences in each category.
Absences relating to injury are recorded against a category of Injury and Poisoning. This includes, for example, the toxic effects of alcohol or drugs, any surgical procedures, and road traffic accidents. It is not possible separately to identify cases relating to injuries.
|All sickness absences||Absences due to injury and poisoning|
|Absence duration||Number of absences||Percentage of total absences||Number of absences||Percentage of total absences|
James Purnell: The winter fuel payment has risen from £20 in winter 1997-98 to £200 from winter 2000-01 and to £300 for those aged 80 or over from winter 2003-04. The estimated annual cost of raising the winter fuel payment by £25 for people aged 80 or over in 2007-08 is around £50 million.
Jeff Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the cost of increasing the winter fuel allowance for pensioners aged over 80 years by £25 per year. 
James Purnell [holding answer 3 May 2007]: The winter fuel payment has risen from £20 in winter 1997-98 to £200 from winter 2000-01 and to £300 for those aged 80 or over from winter 2003-04. The estimated annual cost of raising the winter fuel payment by £25 for people aged 80 or over in 2007-08 is around £50 million.
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 winter 2006-07 are not yet available but we expect the number to be similar to that for 2005-06.
| Notes: 1. Figures rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Parliamentary constituencies are assigned by matching postcodes against the relevant ONS postcode directory. Source: Information directorate 100 per cent data.|
Andy Burnham: The information requested is not available. However, information on the number of acute beds per 100,000 population in each former London strategic health authority (SHA) from 2002-03 to 2005-06 is shown in the following table. These SHAs now collectively form NHS London. Information prior to 2002-03 is not available as SHAs did not exist.
|Acute beds per 100,000 population, strategic health authorities (SHA) in London, 2002-03 to 2005-06|
|Acute beds||Population||Acute beds per 1000,000 population|
Population data are mid-year resident population estimates based on the 2001 census.
Department of Health form KH03 and Office for National Statistics
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