|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment has been made of the impact on public sector defined benefit schemes of requiring automatic re-enrolment every three years. 
James Purnell: Forthcoming legislation will require both public sector and private employers to operate automatic re-enrolment. The detailed framework is under development. We are giving the business processes careful consideration so that any burdens on business are minimised.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what analysis his Department has undertaken comparing the different levels of pension provision recorded by the Office for National Statistics Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, his Departments Employers Pension Provision Survey and the Government Actuarys Departments Occupational Pension Schemes Survey; and what conclusions he has drawn. 
The Employers Pension Provision (EPP) survey examines pension provision among private sector employers in Britain. Results focus on pension provision (occupational pension schemes, group personal pensions and stakeholder pension) analysed by size of employer. The survey also provides some information about the characteristics of employers that had no pension provision. This survey does not provide robust estimates of numbers of pension schemes and memberships as the interaction between employers and pension schemes is complex: some employers, particularly larger employers may have several pension schemes and some pension schemes are multi-employer schemes.
The Occupational Pension Schemes Survey (OPSS) is now conducted by the Office for National Statistics and provides information about occupational schemes for both public and private sector employers. This survey provides more robust information about the number of schemes and scheme memberships than is available from the EPP. There will be double counting of scheme members within the OPSS results as an individual employee could be an active member of one scheme, but be a deferred member or in receipt of a pension from another scheme.
The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) provides detailed information about job details, hours and earnings and employer-sponsored pension arrangements for employees. Results are used primarily to provide National Statistics estimates of average earnings, minimum wage and gender pay gap. Results from this survey provide analyses about demographic and socio-economic characteristics of pension scheme members (age, sex and income level) by scheme type which is not available from the other two surveys. This survey also provides valuable information about the characteristics of employees who are not active members of a pension scheme.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the numbers of members of workplace pension schemes (defined benefit and defined contributions) where the total contribution from employers and employees is between £3,600 and £5,000, broken down by steps of £100. 
James Purnell: The numbers of members of workplace pension schemes (defined benefit and defined contribution) where the total contribution from employers and employees is between £3,600 and £5,000 are shown in the following table:
|Total contribution||Number of employees|
1. All figures are estimates and are taken from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (Office for National Statistics). 2006 is the latest year for which the data are available. The coverage of the survey is Great Britain.
2. Results are rounded to the nearest 10,000.
3. Results only include employees aged 16 to State Pension age.
4. Results cover defined benefit schemes and defined contribution schemes only.
5. Total pension contributions include both employee and employer contributions.
6. The figures provided exclude the value of contracted-out rebates.
7. Individuals who are members of a pension scheme but where there is no information about employer or employee contributions have not been included.
Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, 2006
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 when he will answer questions (a) 102062, (b) 102127, (c) 102163, (d) 102160, (e) 102198, (f) 102211, (g) 102219, (h) 102220, (i) 102157, (j) 102248, (k) 102259, (l) 102232 and (m) 102115, tabled on 17 November 2006, and questions (i) 103216, tabled on 21 November 2006, (ii) 104255, tabled on 22 November 2006, and (iii) 107249, tabled on 28 November 2006, by the hon. Member for Yeovil. 
102062 on 17 January 2007, Official Report , column 1174W
102127 on 20 February 2007, Official Report , column 628W
102163 on 15 March 2007, Official Report , column 512W
102160 on 5 February 2007, Official Report , column 656W
102198 on 8 February 2007, Official Report , column 1205W
102211 was transferred to HM Treasury on 23 November 2006
102219 on 20 March 2007, Official Report , columns 642-43W
102220 on 22 February 2007, Official Report , columns 1919-20W
102157 on 22 March 2007, Official Report , column 1074W
102248 on 26 January 2007, Official Report , column 2110W
102259 on 30 January 2007, Official Report , column 266W
102232 on 26 January 2007, Official Report , columns 2108-09W
102115 on 15 March 2007, Official Report , columns 513-16W
103216 was tabled for the Department of Communities and Local Government
104255 on 8 February 2007, Official Report , column 1192W
107249 on 20 February 2007, Official Report , columns 634 -35W
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department has discussed (a) the traffic light grading of Parliamentary Questions and (b) unanswered Parliamentary Questions in the last 12 months. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Departments aim has always been to answer Parliamentary Questions within the deadlines specified by Parliament, and no longer colour codes questions as part of their processing. Information relating to internal discussion and advice is not disclosed in order to protect frankness and candour.
James Purnell: The processing of Pension Credit was delivered on an existing system, namely the Income Support Computer System. However to support the requirement for an enhanced customer experience and a targeted marketing campaign, a new Electronic Customer Relationship Management application was developedPension Credit Front End (PCFE). PCFE enabled the customer to provide the information required to make a Pension Credit application via the telephone, which resulted in a pre-completed application form being issued to the customer for them to return to the Pension Service.
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the running cost was of the freephone Pension Credit telephone number which advises pensioners where to send their Pension Credit application form in the latest period for which figures are available. 
The service supplied by BT, under contract to DWP, delivered the infrastructure (networks, hardware and software) required to deliver the PCAL operation from an advanced telephony contact centre. Telephony services include advanced call routing (to deliver calls to the appropriate agent), management information in real time via wallboards and via historic reporting, call records (that make it easier to trace a call) and call recording (for quality and monitoring purposes). This service is backed up by appropriate service levels for availability and incident fix times.
The total number of calls the pension credit application line (0800 991234) received for the six months, 12 September 2006 to 11 March 2007 was 517,624. The total telephone charge for this period was £759,450.
Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of eligible pensioners in Stoke-on-Trent who do not claim council tax benefit; and what steps he is taking to reduce this number. 
Mr. Plaskitt: Estimates of take-up are not available below the level of Great Britain. The latest estimates of the take-up of the main income-related benefits: income support, pension credit, housing benefit, council tax benefit and jobseekers allowance (income-based) in Great Britain can be found in the DWP report entitled Income Related Benefits Estimates of Take-Up in 2004-05. Copies of the publication are available in the Library.
We are taking steps to improve awareness and take-up of benefits for specific groups. For example, The Pension Service is undertaking a wide range of steps to encourage eligible pensioners to claim pension credit, including writing to everyone who may have an entitlement and encouraging them to apply. All pensioners applying for pension credit can now access housing benefit and council tax benefit over the phone at the same time.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he has taken to protect the assets of pension schemes in wind-up with a deficiency of assets, pending the outcome of the review he has established. 
James Purnell: It is not for the Government to offer advice to trustees on whether and when they should purchase annuities. Trustees must act in the best interests of their members and in accordance with scheme rules and their statutory obligations. The government would not want to issue advice that may conflict with these responsibilities in some circumstances. It is important that trustees continue the process of winding up including data cleansing and determination of asset shares. They may, however, wish to consider whether it is in the best interest of their members to purchase annuities ahead of the interim findings of the assets review which have been promised in the summer.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the scope will be of the initial report to be published this summer on pension scheme assets held by schemes in wind-up with a deficiency of assets. 
James Purnell: The focus of the review is to examine how we make best use of the assets in pension schemes that are winding up under funded with an insolvent employer or who come within the extension for solvent employers whose schemes signed a compromise agreement. The intention of the review is to determine how these or other sources of non-public expenditure funding (that have not already been allocated) could be used to increase assistance for affected scheme members.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 19 February 2007, Official Report, column 365W, on pensions, how employer contributions to funded defined benefit schemes were apportioned to individual employees when calculating the number of employees with combined employer and employee contributions in excess of £5,000; and whether special contributions aimed at reducing pension deficits are included in these calculations. 
Results published in the table at column 365W of the Official Report for 19 February 2007 were produced using data from the annual survey of hours and earnings (ASHE). ASHE collects for individual employees their pensionable pay and the pension contribution amounts made by them and their employer for a pay period in April, and no apportioning to individuals is therefore necessary. For
the 2005 survey special contributions were not explicitly excluded from the data collection. However, such payments made as lump sums that cover more than one employee cannot be easily attributed to an individual and so are not in scope of the ASHE survey. In addition as the survey collects data for a specific period in April it does not cover pay exclude the majority of special contributions made in that year.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his latest estimate is of the number of people in (a) contracted in and (b) contracted out (i) defined benefit and (ii) defined contribution pension schemes in each year from 1997-98 to 2020-21; if he will break down his estimate for defined contribution schemes between (A) occupational schemes and (B) personal pensions; and if he will make a statement. 
|Table A: contracted-out scheme membership|
|Type of contracted-out scheme|
1. Figures are for UK and are shown in millions.
2. Figures for defined contribution personal pension schemes include stakeholder
Actual figures derived from Second Tier Pension Provision Statistics for 1996-972003-04 and DWP estimates thereafter
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|