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Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many women submitted forms to apply for home responsibilities protection in the last 12 months for which figures are available; how many of these women were already drawing a state pension; what proportion of such applicants in each case were successful; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which companies and associated pension funds are eligible for the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS); on which date each company and pension fund were placed in administration; whether a pension holiday had been previously declared in each case; and which funds members have received payments from the FAS. 
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many occupational pension schemes which are in wind up are in the formal Financial Assistance Scheme assessment stage; and what the longest time is for which such a scheme has been under assessment. 
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which piece of data is most often cited by the financial assistance scheme as the reason for delay in commencing financial assistance. 
James Purnell: Non receipt of acceptable data from pension scheme trustees and administrators is the main reason for the delay in assessing pension scheme members' entitlement to the FAS. This could be because the data are incomplete, incorrect or are ambiguous, (for example containing additional information which needs to be clarified).
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many members of the Financial Assistance Scheme approved for assistance schemes (a) are not claiming the assistance which they are entitled to and (b) do not receive assistance because they fall under the de minimis level. 
(a) Nine people who are entitled to FAS assistance have advised the FAS Operational Unit (FASOU) that they do not wish to receive payment. There are also 20 people who have been advised by FASOU that they are entitled, but whose reply to the FASOU to confirm the arrangements for payments has been outstanding for two months or more.
(b) 1,355 people are not receiving FAS assistance because they fell under the de minimis level. This figure includes members assessed for both initial and annual payments.
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many occupational pension schemes in wind up cannot begin the financial assistance scheme assessment process because they are affiliated members of a body of pension schemes some of which are not in wind up. 
Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the unfunded liability under the financial assistance scheme is of (a) Gloystarme and Co., (b) Hydra Tools and (c) United Engineering Forgings. 
James Purnell: All three pension schemes have qualified for the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) and are still winding up. The unfunded liability under FAS will not be known until winding up is completed.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his latest estimate is of the number of occupational pension schemes winding up with a solvent employer which did not reach compromise agreements between 1997 and 2005 which will not be eligible for help from the financial assistance scheme as proposed to be amended by the Pensions Bill; and what his latest estimate is of the number of members involved. 
James Purnell: The number of pension schemes with solvent sponsoring employers which have commenced winding up during the period from 1 January 1997 to 5 April 2005 (the period of eligibility for the financial assistance scheme) is not known. As a result we have made no estimate of the number of members involved.
The review of scheme assets I announced on 28 March will be looking into the circumstances of those pension schemes (in addition to those with compromise agreements) where although the sponsoring employer did not undergo an insolvency event, it would not be reasonable to expect the employer to have a continuing responsibility for supporting an under funded scheme. The review team has also invited representation from schemes which feel they might be covered under the recently announced extension of FAS and will be reporting to the Secretary of State on these issues later this year with an interim report provided in summer and a final report before the end of the year.
Mr. Philip Hammond:
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of
the impact of the changes to the upper earnings limit for national insurance contributions from 2009 on the proposed personal accounts savings scheme. 
James Purnell: There is no impact. The personal accounts earnings band thresholds will be unrelated to the annual announcements made in the budget on tax and national insurance. As we announced in our response to the consultation on Personal Accounts: a new way to save, these will be set between around £5,000 and £33,500 (in 2006-07 terms), uprated thereafter in line with average earnings.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he intends to increase the upper earnings limit for contributions to the proposed personal accounts saving scheme in line with the proposed increase in the upper earnings limit for national insurance contributions from 2009 which was announced in the 2007 Budget. 
James Purnell: The personal accounts earnings band thresholds will be set at around £5,000 and £33,500 (in 2006-07 terms), uprated thereafter annually in line with average earnings. This will establish the thresholds in their own right. The level of the thresholds will be unrelated to the annual announcements made in the budget on tax and national insurance.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his latest estimate is of the additional number of employees who would be eligible for the proposed personal accounts savings scheme if the upper earnings limit for contributions were increased to £43,000. 
James Purnell: There would be no impact on the number of employees who would be eligible for the proposed personal accounts savings scheme if the upper earnings limit for contributions were increased to £43,000. This is because in companies that opt for personal accounts all employees earning above the lower limit are automatically enrolled into the scheme. Changing the upper limit only changes the earnings on which contributions would be paid not eligibility for automatic enrolment.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on what date he plans to publish the Government's final proposals on the level of the annual cap on personal contributions to the new personal pension accounts; and if he will make a statement. 
James Purnell: The White Paper, Personal accounts: a new way to save consulted on an annual contribution limit of £5,000. The summary of responses, published on 14 June 2007, contains detail on both the level of the limit and how it is to be designed. After further analysis, the Government believe that a contribution limit of £3,600 better balances the need to focus personal accounts on the target market with the need to allow individuals to save flexibly for their retirement. The £3,600 limit will be based on 2005 earnings levels, and will be uprated with earnings from 2005 to implementation in 2012 and beyond.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the Personal Accounts: A New Way to Save, page 25, whether the Government expects that the default fund will invest in a wide range of (a) classes of asset and (b) equities and bonds. 
James Purnell: The Personal Accounts Delivery Authority will be tasked with applying its expertise to develop an investment strategy for personal accounts. In doing so, it will consider a wide range of assets classes, including a range of different equities and bonds. Once in operation, scheme trustees will be ultimately responsible for investment decisions, as they would in any other defined contribution occupational scheme.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 16 April 2007, Official Report, column 249W, on the Smith Institute: finance, what the (a) title and (b) location was of the staff training course in August 2003; how many staff attended; and from what teams those staff came. 
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the yearly value has been of the basic state pension for (a) couples and (b) single pensioners in each year since April 1997. 
|Uprating date (April each year)||Full rate Category A state pension( 1)||Couples rate (full Category A + Category B(L) state pension)( 1)|
|(1) 2007-08 prices.|
Notes: 1. These rates are the real terms (prices) value of the Category A and Category A + Category B(L) and BSP and were calculated using the Retail Prices Index. The amounts are rounded to the nearest 10p. These are not the cash values. 2. There is no such thing as a "couples rate", though the sum of the Category A and Category B(L) pension is often referred to as such. Similarly there is no such thing as a "singles rate" though the maximum rate of the Category A pension is commonly referred to as the singles rate. 3. The couples rate is calculated as 160 per cent. of the full Category A. 4. The Category B (lower) pension is about 60 per cent. of the full-rate basic Category A Pension. It is payable by virtue of a spouse's qualifying years or earnings.
Mr. Martlew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people were unemployed and claiming benefit in Carlisle on (a) 1 April 1997 and (b) 1 April 2007; and if he will make a statement. 
1 .Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Figures are taken from the 2(nd )Thursday of each month.
Count of unemployment-benefits, Jobcentre Plus computer systems (including clerically held cases).
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners living outside the UK received winter fuel payments in each year since such payments were introduced, broken down by country of recipients' residence. 
James Purnell: Since 2002, following discussions with the European Commission about the effect of Community law, winter fuel payments have been made to eligible former UK residents living elsewhere in the European economic area or Switzerland provided they qualified for a winter fuel payment before leaving the UK. Although in some cases payments may be made for years before 2002, a separate breakdown of payments for the earlier years is not available. Information on payments made from 2002-03 is in the following table.
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