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29 Oct 2007 : Column 768Wcontinued
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what his Department's latest estimate is of the number of pensioners in (a) the UK, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland and (d) England living below the poverty line; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) how many and what proportion of pensioners in (a) the UK, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland and (d) England were living below the poverty line in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The available information is in the following tables.
|Number of pensioners living in households below 60 per cent. of contemporary median income after housing costs|
|Percentage of pensioners living in households below 60 per cent. of contemporary median income after housing costs|
|(3) Figures are for the UK from 1998-99 onwards, with estimates for Northern Ireland imputed for the years 1998-99 through 2001-02. Earlier years are for GB only. Notes: 1. There is no single accepted poverty line. The measure of low income for pensioners we have adopted uses a threshold of 60 per cent of contemporary median income after housing costs. 2. Numbers are rounded to the nearest 10 thousand, and percentages to the nearest percentage point. 3. Numbers for Wales, Scotland and England are presented using a three-year moving average, as single-year estimates do not provide a robust guide to year-on-year changes. Source: Family Resources Survey|
We have made good progress in tackling pensioner poverty. Based on income measured after housing costs the number of pensioners in Great Britain living in relative poverty has fallen by more than one million between 1996-97 and 2005-06.
We will continue to build on this good progress. A new Public Service Agreement Tackle poverty and promote greater independence in later life, published as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review in October 2007 clearly demonstrates that tackling the problems of low income amongst older people remains a key Government priority.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners have taken up their entitlement under the (a) pensions credit scheme, (b) disability allowance and (c) attendance allowance in the last five years, broken down by (i) age and (ii) region; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Due to the amount of detail the information has been sent to the hon. Member and a copy will be placed in the Library.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of adults who were not members of any pension scheme in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The following table below gives a time series breakdown of working age adults who were not members of any active private pension scheme.
|Number of working age adults who were not members of any private pension scheme (million)|
1. All figures are estimates and are taken from the Family Resources Survey (FRS). 2005-06 is the latest year for which data are available.
2. Results are presented for 1990-2000 onwards. Data in earlier years are not comparable because of the implementation of improvements in government surveys relating to pensions from that date.
3. Private pension refers to either an occupational, personal or stakeholder pension scheme.
4. Working age is ages 20-59 for women and 20-64 for men.
Family Resources Survey, Great Britain, 1999-2000 to 2005-06
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many state pension claims took more than 20 days to process in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The requested information is unavailable.
The standard measure for state pension claims is to clear 95 per cent. of claims in 60 days. The Pension Service computer system therefore measures against this target.
60 days takes into consideration the fact that customers need to supply a considerable amount of evidence (including marriage and birth certificates) after the initial date of claim. It also takes into account the fact that customers can make an application to state pension up to four months prior to retirement.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 30 March 2006, Official Report, column 1205W, on pensions, what his estimate is of the number of people who have lost their pensions due to the insolvency of the sponsoring employer or where the employer no longer exists; and what progress has been made towards providing a breakdown of this figure by (a) constituency and (b) region. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: We estimate that, between 1997 and 2005, around 125,000 people lost some part of their pension due to the insolvency of the sponsoring employer or where the employer no longer exists.
Approximately 117,000 non-pensioner members of these schemes are potentially eligible for assistance from the financial assistance scheme (FAS); these members are in around 690 FAS qualifying schemes.
Because in most cases the employer no longer exists, the address provided to Financial Assistance Scheme Operational Unit (FASOU) is that of the administrator or receiver which often bears no geographical relevance to where the company was located. Providing an accurate picture of those who have lost their pensions by constituency and region is therefore not possible.
FASOU only has addresses for members about whom schemes have submitted data. We are not, therefore, able to give a meaningful breakdown by location for all affected members.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effect of rules on state pension entitlement on people who stay at home to care for (a) children and (b) elderly relatives; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: People who are bringing up children or caring for severely disabled people can protect their state pension through measures such as Home Responsibilities Protection and carers allowance credits.
As a result of the provisions in the 2007 Pensions Act, including the treatment of Home Responsibilities Protection and the more generous arrangements for the award of credits to people with caring responsibilities, the proportion of women in Great Britain reaching state pension age with entitlement to a full basic state pension is estimated to rise from around 35 per cent. now to around three-quarters in 2010-11.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made (a) on an actuarial basis of (i) the average life expectancy of the pensioners who are eligible for payments under the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) and (ii) the number of eligible pensioners who will not receive any compensation due to short life expectancy, (b) of the average amount of funding required to compensate each recipient of payments from the scheme and (c) of the amount of time that it will take to provide full compensation to all pensioners eligible for the FAS. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) model uses a rate of 85 per cent. of the UK population mortality rates as projected in the most recent 2006-based national population projections produced by the Office for National Statistics. This assumes that on average eligible male and female members of a FAS qualifying scheme attaining age 65 in 2010 will live for a further 22.6 years and 24.9 years respectively, rising by 2025 to a further 24.2 and 26.4 years respectively.
Based on these mortality assumptions 7,050 people who are currently eligible for FAS will die before age 65 and therefore not get assistance. The FAS does however provide assistance to surviving spouses or civil partners of deceased qualifying members of qualifying schemes.
As at 30 September 2007 the numbers of people receiving FAS payments (excluding arrears) within the ranges shown are as follows:
|Payment range gross figures (per annum)||Number of members receiving annual payments||Number of members receiving initial payments( 1)||Total n umber|
|(1) Whose pension schemes have not yet completed wind-up.|
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