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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.
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. 
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. 
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.
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.
|Financial year||NIC (£)( 1)|
|(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 (£)|
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.
|Gross current expenditure( 1) by York council on older people (aged 65 or over)|
|Year (1 April to 31 March)||Gross current expenditure (£ thousand)|
|(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.
RO3 and PSS EX1 returns
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.
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|
|(1) Main payment run only|
|TV licence fees (£)|
|Colour||Black and white|
The Warm Front Scheme is the Governments 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 Schemes 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 (£)|
|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|
Family Resources Survey
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