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Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many participants in qualitative work sponsored by his Department mentioned during his Departments survey work on the proposed personal accounts an interest in investing in social, ethical or environmental funds (a) spontaneously and (b) after prompting. 
James Purnell: In early 2006, the Department carried out in-depth qualitative research on public attitudes to personal accounts(1). Some of the younger participants in this research (aged 20 to 34) spontaneously said that they felt it was important that they are able to invest their money ethically. Respondents were not specifically prompted about whether they were interested in investing in social, ethical or environmental funds. Qualitative research identifies the range of views and experiences people hold and provides insight into attitudes and beliefs. It does not provide statistics, so it is not valid to give numbers of participants who expressed a particular view.
(1) This research was published in the Departments research report series; Hall S, Pettigrew N and Harvey P, 2006, Public attitudes to personal accounts: Report of a qualitative study, DWP Research Report No. 370
Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answers of (a) 5 June 2007, Official Report, column 350W, on low incomes and (b) 10 May 2007, Official Report, column 465W, on personal income, if he will place in the Library the datasets corresponding to the Households Below Average Incomeincome distribution graphs, figures 2.1, 4.1, 5.1 and 6.1. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: Specific information regarding low income for the United Kingdom is available in Households Below Average Income 1994/95-2005/06 (Revised). The report uses 60 per cent. of median income as the low income threshold. This threshold is the internationally recognised measure of poverty.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in what terms the proposed £10,000 limit on contributions to personal accounts in their first year of operation is expressed. 
James Purnell: On 14 June 2007 the Government published their response to the consultation on the White Paper Personal Accounts: a new way to save. This put forward a proposal for a £10,000 limit on contributions in the first year of the personal accounts scheme in order to encourage saving prior to the introduction of personal accounts in 2012. However, we will continue to work with others across Government, the financial industry and consumer representatives to explore how we can best encourage people to save prior to 2012.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the proportion of the 5.7 million employees identified on page 94 of the regulatory impact assessment to Personal Accounts: a new way to save as being offered contributions greater than 6 per cent. who are (a) non-members of these schemes but eligible to join and (b) non-members of the schemes who are not currently eligible to join. 
James Purnell: The personal accounts White Paper 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 also how it is to be designed. After further analysis, the Government believe that a contribution limit of £3,600 balances the need to focus personal accounts on the target market and the need to allow individuals to save flexibly for their retirement.
Mr. McGovern: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many contracts have been awarded under the Public Procurement Regulations 2006 to (a) Remploy and (b) other supported employers. 
The Department has not entered into any new contracts since the 2006 regulations, with either Remploy or other supported employers but we have extended Remploys two existing contracts twice from April 2006 to March 2007 and from April 2007 to March 2008. They were also successful in a recent limited competition in winning extra NDDP business (volumes) within their existing contracts.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to ensure that Sea Containers, based in Bermuda, properly funds its UK-based pension schemes; and if he will make a statement. 
I understand that following an oral hearing before the Pension Regulators Determinations Panel on 12 and 13 June 2007, the panel determined that a financial support direction should be issued requiring Sea Containers Ltd. to put in place financial support for the two pension schemes of its UK based subsidiary. This is the first time that the Regulator has used its financial support powers which were introduced in the Pensions Act 2004 to ensure that, when it is reasonable, companies cannot leave a pension scheme with a service company or weak member of the group without guaranteeing the pension promise.
The Financial Support Direction will come into effect 28 days from the date of the determination notice or, if an appeal is made to the Pensions Regulator Tribunal, from the date of determination of that appeal. Any person that appears to be directly affected by the determination may appeal to the Pensions Regulator Tribunal within 28 days of the determination notice being issued.
Mr. Jim Murphy: We already have powers to offer training to disabled people in receipt of incapacity benefit through New Deal for Disabled People and Pathways to Work. Pathways to Work will be rolled out nationally by April 2008, primarily via the private and voluntary sectors in 60 per cent. of the country. Contracts will not specify exactly what programme of support should be available, enabling providers to offer innovative work-focused support which is tailored to the needs of individual customers and could potentially include self employment training.
Further assistance may also be available from Jobcentre Plus, which offers a wide range of practical and financial help to assist customers, such as career development loans. Specially trained personal advisers are available to discuss with customers any barrier that is preventing them from starting self-employment. They also provide a booklet Work For Yourself which gives advice and information on starting a small business or arranging a franchise.
In addition, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) offers a wide range of small business support information and packages, including a small suite of grants, loans guarantees and subsidised consultancy to address a range of business issues. They also have information about finance and grants for starting up and developing a small business and can provide practical support for the key stages of innovation or research and development and helps businesses to become more efficient, competitive and profitable.
Mrs. McGuire: At November 2006, there were 2,845,750 disability living allowance (DLA) cases in payment and 1,679,360 people entitled to attendance allowance, which includes those who have had payment of their benefit suspended, for example because they were in hospital.
DLA and AA are the main benefits paid by this Department to people with severe disabilities. These benefits are intended to provide a contribution towards the general extra costs faced by severely disabled people as a result of their disabilities, allowing recipients to use the benefit according to their own priorities.
Mrs. McGuire: The Department does not use one specific definition to determine severe disability. A range of benefits are available to people with disabilities, and definitions of disability are dependent on the benefit being claimed and reflect the purpose of that benefit.
Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how benefits for disabled people are adjusted to take into account increases in the cost of living; and whether such adjustments reflect increases in the cost of fuel and its impact upon heating costs. 
Mrs. McGuire: Benefits such as disability living allowance and attendance allowance are increased every April by the rate of inflation as measured by the movement in the retail prices index (RPI). In calculating the RPI, account is taken of price changes in a wide range of goods and services, which includes the cost of fuel and heating.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his estimate is of the cost of the most expensive organised fraud against the benefit system since 1 May 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will publish his Departments rules for deciding whether overpaid benefits should be recovered from claimants where the overpayment has resulted from departmental error, including staff error; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Plaskitt: Where someone receives public money to which they are not entitled we have a duty to seek recovery, even if the overpayment was caused by an official error. I have arranged for the relevant guidance to be placed in the Library.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the total net cost of bringing forward the new rules for the number of years of national insurance required to qualify for a full basic state pension from April 2010 to (a) April 2001, (b) April 2005, (c) April 2006 and (d) April 2007 in each year from 2001 to 2030; how many additional people in each year would receive a full basic state pension as a result; and if he will make a statement. 
James Purnell: The information requested is not currently available. However, the estimated net costs of bringing forward the new rules for the number of years of national insurance required to qualify for a full basic state pension from 2008 are given as follows.
|Net cost (£ million)|
1. Estimates in 2007-08 prices, UK and overseas.
2. Estimates rounded to the nearest £10 million.
3. Estimates are net of savings in income related benefits but do not include any savings from tax increases.
|Estimated additional beneficiaries in Great Britain of a full basic state pension|
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assumptions the Government has made in its costings of a Universal Enhanced State Pension, with offsetting of accrued rights to the State Earnings Related Pension and the State Second Pension, in respect of the relationship between the level of pensions paid to single pensioners and couples; and if he will make a statement. 
James Purnell: The proposal for a Universal Enhanced State Pension was made by the Pensions Commission. The costs and assumptions behind it are set out in the Commissions Second Report A New Pension Settlement for the Twenty-First Century.
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