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17 Sep 2007 : Column 2304W—continued

Pensions: Council Tax

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what account he takes of changes in the level of council tax in setting pension rates. [155419]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Secretary of State is required by law to review the levels of state pension and to increase those levels at least in line with prices. It has been the practice for many years to increase state pension in line with the September Retail Prices Index although for some years in the recent past it has increased by more.

In calculating the Retail Prices Index, account is taken of variations in a wide range of goods and services to reflect the typical change in costs, both increases and decreases, that people face from year to year. This includes average council tax bills for households in Great Britain.

Pensions: Lil-Lets UK Ltd

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what representations he has received on the pensions funds situation of Lil-Lets UK Ltd, following the closure of the production facilities by the parent company Electra. [152673]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I have received no representations on this matter.

Pensions: York

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average value of benefits in kind provided by the state was to (a) single pensioners and (b) pensioner couples in York in 1996-97 and each year since then in respect of (i) NHS services, (ii) social services, (iii) travel concessions, (iv) television licences, (v) insulation and home repairs and improvements and (vi) other services. [151531]


17 Sep 2007 : Column 2305W

Mr. Mike O'Brien: A wide range of services and benefits in kind are available to older people and these are administered both centrally and locally. As a result, the information is not available in the format requested: some information is not collected and some could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The information which is available is given as follows.

(i) NHS services

People aged 60 and over are able to claim free prescriptions and eye tests on the grounds of age.

Information on the value of medicines provided by the national health service (NHS) to pensioners in York cannot be provided as the information is only available at primary care trust level and there has never been an NHS organisation serving simply the York area. However, information is available for York and Selby Primary Care Trust which existed from October 2000 to September 2006.

The following table shows the estimated net ingredient cost (NIC) of medicines dispensed by the NHS in the community, to patients aged 60 and over, in the York and Selby PCT.

Financial year NIC (£)( 1)

2000-01 (October 2000 to March 2001 )

7,113,267

2001-02

16,031,265

2002-03

18,234,442

2003-04

20,141,851

2004-05

21,771,804

2005-06

21,842,267

(1 )These figures have been taken from the Prescription Cost Analysis database and are estimates based on a sample of prescriptions.

Free NHS sight tests were made available to people aged 60 and over from 1 April 1999. Information on the average value of NHS sight tests provided to people aged 60 and over within the area of the former York and Selby PCT is only available on a consistent basis for the three years 2003-04 to 2005-06 and is set out in the following table:

Financial year Number of free NHS sight tests given to people aged 60 and over Estimated cost of NHS sight tests to people aged 60 and over (£)

2003-04

26,254

453,144

2004-05

26,619

474,351

2005-06

25,057

460,798


Information on the age of adults who qualify for help with other NHS services or the value of such services, such as optical vouchers or relief from dental charges, is not collected centrally.

(ii) Social services

Social services information is not available broken down into single pensioners and pensioner couples. The following table shows the gross current expenditure by York council on social services for people aged 65 or over from 1996-97 to 2005-06.


17 Sep 2007 : Column 2306W
Gross current expenditure( 1) by York council on older people (aged 65 or over)
Year (1 April to 31 March) Gross current expenditure (£ thousand)

1996-97

15,200

1997-98

16,300

1998-99

17,400

1999-2000

18,700

2000-01

19,100

2001-02

19,400

2002-03(2)

23,500

2003-04(3)

21,900

2004-05

25,600

2005-06

27,500

(1 )Gross expenditure includes income from client contributions, but excludes capital charges and certain income items which count as expenditure elsewhere in the public sector, such as contributions from primary care trusts. This is to avoid double counting within the aggregate public sector accounts of the money involved.
(2) From 2002-03 onwards, the data include clients who transferred to council with social services responsibilities (CSSR) support on 8 April 2002, who were formally in receipt of higher rates of income support under the Department for Work and Pensions preserved rights scheme.
(3 )From 2003-04, additional funding was made available to CSSRs via the Supporting People grant.
Source:
RO3 and PSS EX1 returns

(iii) Travel concessions

Travel concessions are provided through local authorities and information is not held centrally. Funding is through Formula Grant, a block grant, which local authorities are free to spend on any service. Local authorities have flexibility to enhance their schemes beyond the statutory minimum, so there are local variations in what is offered and take-up of concessionary travel schemes varies from one area to another.

As announced in the 2006 Budget, the national bus concession will be introduced in April 2008. The Concessionary Bus Travel Act 2007 improves the geographic coverage to give those who are eligible free off-peak local bus travel in any part of England. Eligibility on age or disability remains unchanged.

(iv) Television licences

Free television licences for people aged 75 or over were introduced in November 2000. TV Licensing, who administer free licences as agents for the BBC, are not able to provide geographical breakdowns of licences issued. However, figures, shown in the following table, are available for the number of households with at least one person aged 75 or over claiming winter fuel payments in York local authority. These people would be eligible for a free television licence.

York local authority area
Number of households with someone aged 75 or over

2004-05

11,685

2005-06

11,930

2006-07(1)

12,070

(1) Main payment run only

Television licence fees for each year since the concession was introduced are shown in the table as follows:


17 Sep 2007 : Column 2307W
TV licence fees (£)
Colour Black and white

2000-01

104.00

34.50

2001-02

109.00

36.50

2002-03

112.00

37.50

2003-04

116.00

38.50

2004-05

121.00

40.50

2005-06

126.50

42.00

2006-07

131.50

44.00

2007-08

135.50

45.50


(v) Insulation

The Warm Front Scheme is the Government’s main programme for tackling fuel poverty in vulnerable households in the private sector in England. Warm Front provides grants for heating, insulation and energy efficiency measures. The following table displays the number of pensioner households that have received Warm Front assistance in the York local authority area since the Scheme’s inception in 2000, and the average spend on each of those households.

Number of single pensioner households assisted in York Average spend per single pensioner household assisted (£) Number of two pensioners households assisted in York Average spend per 2 pensioner household assisted (£)

2000-01

63

345.50

16

791.74

2001-02

170

502.44

43

1,156.06

2002-03

184

611.81

46

1,424.28

2003-04

82

748.75

21

1,701.55

2004-05

87

693.71

22

1,596.59

2005-06

199

778.45

102

765.08

2006-07

364

753.92

252

657.25


Personal Income

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the percentage change in net income of each income decile has been in the UK since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [151913]

Caroline Flint: Specific information regarding low income for the United Kingdom is available in “Households Below Average Income 1994/95-2005/06 (Revised)”.

The available information is shown in the following table.


17 Sep 2007 : Column 2308W
Percentage change in income decile medians between 1996-97 and 2005-06, in 2005-06 prices
Increase (percentage) 1996 -97 to 2005-06
Decile Income before housing costs Income after housing costs

1

12

15

2

24

35

3

24

38

4

22

32

5

20

28

6

19

27

7

18

26

8

18

26

9

18

26

10

23

30

Source:
Family Resources Survey

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