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Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of people who have been members of occupational pension schemes which have been closed (a) to new members and (b) completely since 1997. 
|Active members in closed occupational schemes|
(1) All figures are estimates and are taken from the Occupational Pension Scheme Survey, years 2006, 2005, 2004 and 2000. Data for years 2000 to 2005 inclusive were produced by the Government Actuarys Department (GAD). Data from 2006 were produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). 2006 is the latest year published. The coverage of the survey is the UK.
(2) Unlike other years the 2005 survey only covered private sector schemes.
(3) Results may not sum to totals shown due to rounding.
(4) In 2005 data was not collected for public sector schemes or the total.
Occupational Pension Schemes Survey
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many women pensioners in each five-year age cohort would receive an additional weekly pension increase of (a) less than £5, (b) £5 to £9.99, (c) £10 to £14.99, (d) £15 to £19.99 and (e) £20 or more in 2010 if the reduction in qualifying years for a full pension were extended to them. 
1. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest 10. Some additional disclosure control has also been applied.
2. Parliamentary Constituencies are those used for the Westminster parliament.
DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate his Department has made of the number and proportion of pensioners subject to some form of means testing for a part of their income. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Latest available information relates to 2004. This shows that there were 3.74 million beneficiaries aged 60 and over of income related benefits, 30 per cent. of the population of this age group.
(3) what assessment he has made of the likely effect of measures announced in the recent pre-Budget report and comprehensive spending review on pensioner poverty in Ochil and South Perthshire; 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Specific information regarding low income is available in Households Below Average Income 1994-95 to 2005-06 (Revised), a copy of which has been placed in the Library. The threshold of below 60 per cent. contemporary median income is the most commonly used in reporting trends in low income.
The data source does not allow us to provide robust numbers for estimates below a regional level. Therefore estimates for Ochil and South Perthshire and for Clackmannanshire are not available. Instead, information on the numbers of pensioners in households with low incomes in Scotland for the period 1997-98 to 2005-06 is presented in the following table.
|Number and percentage of pensioners in Scotland living in households below 60 per cent. median income after housing costs|
1. The table shows number of pensioners in thousandsrounded to nearest 10 thousand.
2. Low income is determined for pensioners as living in households with incomes below 60 per cent. of the UK median after housing costs.
Scottish Households Below Average Income 2005-06revised
Our policies have been effective in tackling pensioner poverty and now, for the first time ever in a period of sustained economic growth, pensioners are less likely to be in poverty than the population as a whole. Since 1997 over one million pensioners have been lifted out of relative poverty, including approximately 90 thousand pensioners (rounded to the nearest ten thousand) in Scotland.
Minimum income guarantee and pension credit, winter fuel payments and a 7 per cent. real terms increase in the value of the basic state pension have all contributed to improving pensioner incomes. The announcement in the pre-Budget report to increase pension credit standard minimum guarantee to £124 a week for single pensioners (£189 a week for couples) in 2008-09, and commitment to uprate it in line with earnings over the long term, demonstrates our continued commitment to tackling pensioner poverty.
A new public service agreement Tackle poverty and promote greater independence in later life was published as part of the comprehensive spending review on 9 October 2007. This clearly demonstrates that tackling the problems of low income among older people remains a key government priority.
The Scottish government is also tackling pensioner poverty in Scotland, in partnership with the UK Government. It is promoting benefit uptake through the benefits health checks offered as part of the free central heating programme, and funding of the Scottish helpline for older people. Its central heating programme, free Scotland-wide bus travel, and free personal and nursing care are complementing measures provided by the UK Government.
Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress has been made in finding additional funding to improve the Financial Assistance Scheme; and if he will make a statement. 
|Total cost and planned expenditure on winter fuel payments paid out in Great Britain since the scheme was established|
|Outturn y ears||Cash t erms (£ million)|
|Forecast y ears||Cash t erms (£ million)|
| Notes: 1. Figures are consistent with the comprehensive spending review and are rounded to the nearest £ million. 2. Winter fuel payment was introduced in 1997. 3. Payments made to people aged 60 to 64 years and over 80 payments are included from 2000-01 onwards. Following a European Court of Justice judgment in 1999, winter fuel payments were extended to people aged 60 or over regardless of whether they were receiving a social security benefit. A claims process was set up in the year 2000 to enable payments to be made to those people who could not be identified through the Department's records.|
Your Parliamentary Question on the administrative costs of the Audit Commission since 1996 has been passed to me for reply.
It is very difficult to answer questions about administrative costs in the absence of any clear definition of this term. The definition of administrative costs employed within central government is not applicable to the Commission as the Commission does not have programmes run by third parties, and therefore all our expenditure is incurred in support of our statutory duties as set out in the Audit Commission Act 1998. I attach a schedule setting out our total costs since 1996.
A copy of this letter will be placed in the House of Commons Library.
The Audit Commissions costs since 1996 are as follows:
|Year end||Period length (months)||Total (£000)|
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