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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many parliamentary questions were tabled to his Department in 2006, broken down by (a) ordinary written and (b) named day; what percentage of ordinary written questions were answered within 10 working days; and what percentage of named day questions were answered by the specified date. 
Mr. Plaskitt: In 2006, 3,461 ordinary written questions were tabled to the Department, of which 48.7 per cent. were replied to within 10 working days and 669 named day questions were tabled, of which 30.5 per cent. received a full reply by the specific date, with all others receiving a holding reply.
James Purnell: The UK state pension is fully exportable but is only uprated where there is a reciprocal social security agreement or legal requirement to do so. Our priority is to focus our efforts and available limited resources on pensioners resident in the UK.
(1) This figure does not include paying any arrears.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will assess the impact of a contribution cap of (a) £3,000 and (b) £5,000 on the proposed personal accounts savings scheme if the upper earnings limit for contributions were increased to £43,000. 
James Purnell: On 14 June 2007, the Government published their summary of responses to the White Paper Personal accounts: a new way to save consultation exercise. That document signalled our intention to establish the personal accounts earning band in line with the primary threshold and upper earnings limit from 2006-07 and to uprate these thresholds annually in line with average earnings. This means that the personal accounts earning band will not increase to the new level of the upper earnings limit that was announced in this years Budget.
We also announced that the personal accounts annual contribution limit would be set at a level of £3,600 in 2005 earnings terms, and uprated according to earnings to 2012 and beyond. Such a figure will ensure that personal accounts will stay focused on the target market, complementing rather than competing with existing provision, while still providing moderate to low earners with sufficient room to meet benchmark replacement rates.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the additional cost to employers of the proposed personal accounts savings scheme if the upper earnings limit for contributions to the proposed personal accounts scheme were increased to £43,000. 
James Purnell: As the Governments response to their consultation on the White Paper Personal Accounts: a new way to save, sets out we will not increase the personal accounts earnings band upper threshold to reflect the increases in the tax and national insurance thresholds announced in the Budget. An increase in the upper threshold to £43,000 would have cost employers an additional £150 to £200 million a year.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in what percentage of cases the median earner detailed on pages 113 and 114 of the regulatory impact assessment to Personal Accounts: A New Way to Save would have a replacement rate in excess of 100 per cent. if he saved (a) £3,000 each year and (b) £5,000 each year, according to the Departments stochastic modelling. 
James Purnell: Estimates of pension income are heavily driven by a number of assumptions, such as the asset allocation in a particular fund choice, the age at which the individual starts saving and the choice of annuity. It is therefore not possible to say with absolute certainty with which amount of annual savings an individual would achieve a replacement rate of above 100 per cent.
However, both under a contribution limit of £3,000 and £5,000 a median earner with a full working life is likely to be able to achieve an adequate pension income as defined by a replacement rate. This would require additional voluntary savings above the default contribution. Clearly, the higher an individuals contributions, the more likely they are to achieve a particular retirement income.
On 14 June, 2007, the Government published their summary of responses to the White Paper Personal Accounts: A New Way to Save consultation exercise. This document contained further analysis on the personal accounts contribution limit and concluded that an annual limit of £3,600 would be an appropriate figure. Such a figure will ensure that personal accounts will stay focused on the target market, complementing rather than competing with existing provision, while still providing moderate to low earners with sufficient room to meet benchmark replacement rates.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what replacement rate the median earner described on pages 113 and 114 of the Regulatory Impact Assessment to Personal Accounts: A New Way to Save would achieve if investments performed in line with central assumptions each year and if his total savings were (a) £3,000 each year and (b) £5,000 each year. 
James Purnell: If investment returns were in line with the estimated average of a 3.5 per cent. real rate of return in each year, a median earner, who contributed up to the contribution limit in each year, would, in principle, be able to reach (a) around a two thirds per cent. replacement rate with a £3,000 contribution limit and (b) around an 85 to 90 per cent. replacement rate with a £5,000 contribution limit. The benchmark replacement rate for a median earner is around two thirds which is in principle attainable with a £3,000 contribution limit.
However, these replacement rates are based on the assumption of a full working life (age 21 to 68) and hence a high number of years of saving (46 years). Some people in personal accounts are likely to start saving at a later age than 21 or have caring breaks in their working life and thus need a somewhat higher degree of flexibility of saving to reach their benchmark replacement rates.
On 14 June, 2007, the Government published their summary of responses to the White Paper Personal accounts: a new way to save consultation exercise. This document contained further analysis on the personal accounts contribution limit and concluded that an annual limit of £3,600 would be an appropriate figure. Such a figure will ensure that Personal Accounts will stay focused on the target market, complementing rather than competing with existing provision, while still providing moderate to low earners with sufficient room to meet benchmark replacement rates.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his latest estimate is of the required personal contribution into a personal pension which would have to be made by a person aged 35, on median earnings and retiring at age 65, in order to receive a pension in retirement equal to (a) 25 per cent., (b) 30 per cent., (c) 35 per cent., (d) 40 per cent., (e) 45 per cent. and (f) 50 per cent. of their median earnings; and if he will make a statement. 
James Purnell: Published analysis regarding the replacement rates and incomes individuals could expect at retirement can be found in Figure 2.iii of the May 2006 White Paper, Security in Retirement Regulatory Impact Assessment. This shows that an individual with an average lifetime income of £25,000, who is 30 in 2012, could expect a replacement rate of 44 per cent. from having saved in a personal account, an improvement of 10 per cent. over the non-saving replacement rate.
This table provides an indication of the net individual contribution rates required to achieve an income in retirement equivalent to a proportion of earnings today. This is based on a male median earner (£24,000 in 2007-08) who starts work aged 25 and starts saving at age 35 in 2012 to retirement at age 68. This individual would achieve a total replacement rate of 45 per cent. (an improvement of 9 per cent. from having saved) with contributions above the band of 4 per cent. from the employee, 1 per cent. from tax relief and 3 per cent. from the employer.
|Net individual contribution rate (on banded earnings)||Percentage of total earnings||Replacement rate from pension saving||Total replacement rate|
1. This table is for illustrative purposes only. It should not be used as the basis for individual decisions as specific circumstances or variation from the underlying assumptions will lead to different results.
2. The results assume an AMC of 0.5 per cent., an employer contribution of 3 per cent., no phasing of contributions, and no contribution cap.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) whether (a) Remploy and (b) other sheltered employment agencies are exempt from competition rules which might protect the contracts they can secure from public bodies and Government agencies in the UK; 
(3) what public procurement rules apply to the awarding of contracts by (a) Government and (b) local government departments and agencies on (i) favourable and (ii) protected terms to (A) Remploy and (B) other sheltered employment agencies. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Public Contracts Regulations apply to all procurement exercises for goods and services by Government with a contract value of over £93,738, and to local government exercises with a contract value of over £144,371.
These Regulations allow contracting authorities to Reserve contracts for supported factories and businesses. This means that only organisations where more than 50 per cent. of the workers are disabled persons, who by reason of disability are unable to take up work in the open labour market, can bid for this work. Any employer or supported employment programme meeting the 50 per cent. disabled employees criteria can bid for reserved contracts.
There is also a scheme Special Contract Arrangements for contracts below these threshold values. Under this scheme, contracting authorities are allowed to offer back work to supported employers, whose tender is unacceptable on price alone, to give them the opportunity to match the best offer received.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he has considered the merits of extending the proposed structure and numbers of Remploy factories beyond the agreed five year funding period. 
Mrs. McGuire: Any consideration of the merits of extending the proposed structure and numbers of Remploy factories beyond the agreed five-year funding period will only be made after the company has presented its modernisation plans.
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department has granted any applications for Social Fund money for the purchase of a motor vehicle in the last 12 months. 
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many successful prosecutions his Department provided evidence for in the last 12 months on cases involving (a) false representations for claiming benefit and (b) dishonest representations for claiming benefit. 
Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many people were (a) charged with and (b) found guilty of benefit fraud in each local authority area in each of the last 10 years; 
For the available national information on prosecutions, I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave on 23 March 2007, Official Report, column 1187W, to the hon. Member for Ilford, North (Mr. Scott); for the available national information on levels of fraud, I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave on 18 April 2007, Official Report, columns 697-98W, to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws).
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the latest available rates of combined fraud and error were for each of his Departments administered benefits for the latest year for which information is available. 
John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to ensure that requests submitted by Clydebank Processing Centre for the return of stored case papers or claimants' documents are dealt with promptly by staff at Heywood. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: Clydebank Benefit Delivery Centre currently retains files on site for nine weeks before dispatch to the Capita Document Management Centre (DMC) or Heywood Stores as they were known. This retention facilitates routine post-action checks, inquiries or other action. Documents/files are requested from DMC using an on-line retrieval with each request being made available for despatch by the TNT Courier by 20:00 on the day of request where the request is received before 17.00 hours or the next working day for requests made after 17.00 hours. Where the request is urgent we can request a response within two hours by fax or e-mail.
Where files are not received there are two escalation routes, depending on the information held in the on-line retrieval system, either via the TNT Courier help desk or the DMC Customer Service Desk. DMC will endeavour to resolve the issue at contact. However, if this is not possible complaints will be investigated within 24 hours of receipt and the caller given the option of a written reply by fax or e-mail. If the inquiry cannot be resolved within 24 hours, DMC Customer Service Desk provides a progress report via e-mail or fax. If the response is unsatisfactory or is not received within 48 hours, the issue is escalated to the DWP Record Storage Contract Management Team.
Scotland also has a nominated manager who represents our sites on matters relating to the JCP process and the DMC service.
Clydebank is currently receiving a satisfactory standard of service and escalates individual cases where there are difficulties to the Customer Service Desk. Clydebank aims to reduce the holding to six weeks, rather than nine, in line with our agreed best practice in Scotland.
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