|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mrs. McGuire: Accessibility audits were commissioned in 2004 for all of the 1,191 buildings where my Department is major occupier. The resultant national programme of works to improve access for disabled people was completed in 2006. Central office buildings are included in the total of 1,191.
Although central data are held of the number of occupied buildings which are or are not considered to be fully accessible to disabled people, where there are access difficulties for disabled people, my Department makes appropriate reasonable adjustment to its arrangements for the recruitment and employment of staff as well as the services and requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment his Department has made of the effect on numbers of housing benefit claims of transferring lone parents from income support to jobseekers allowance. 
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many people between the ages of (a) 18 to 25, (b) 25 to 45 and (c) 45 to 65 were in receipt of incapacity benefits in the latest period for which figures are available; 
|Number of recipients by age , May 2007|
|Incapacity benefits||Jobseekers a llowance|
| = Nil or negligible.|
1. Case load figures are rounded to the nearest 10
2. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
3. Although in general incapacity benefit applies to people of working age, a small number of claimants are over state pension age.
DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many contracts were awarded by his Department to Opinion Leader Research in each year since 1997; and what was (a) the title and purpose, (b) the cost to the public purse and (c) the dates of (i) tender, (ii) award, (iii) operation and (iv) completion and report to the Department in each case. 
Mrs. McGuire: On 9 January 2006, a contract was awarded by the Department for Work and Pensions to Opinion Leader Research to carry out a UK-wide public consultation on the Pension Commission's proposals to reform the UK's pension system. This involved the management and facilitation of a number of regional events, linked by satellite technology and involved 1,275 people; interactive on-line surveys; a detailed stakeholder toolkit for locally held debates; citizens advisory panels; and, resulting analysis for the National Pensions Day debate on 18 March 2006.
The contract was put to tender on 12 December 2005 to six companies on the DWP CIPHeR (consultants, interims, personnel and human resources) framework. Three valid responses were received. The cost of the
contract totalled £999,180 (including VAT) and was awarded based on expertise and value for money. The contract started on 16 January 2006 and was completed on 31 May 2006.
The National Pensions Day debate generated significant coverage in the media and raised public awareness of pensions issues preparing the ground for the forthcoming publication of the May 2006 White Paper Security in Retirement towards a New Pensions System.
On 25 January 2007 a second minor contract was awarded to Opinion Leader Research for the Pensions Communications StrategySCS (senior civil servant) Workshops for the provision of a facilitator. This contract went to tender on 10 January 2007 and ran from 29 January to 28 February 2007. The value of this contract was £3,055.00 (including VAT).
Following a robust evaluation of proposals received against each exercise, VfM decisions were made in accordance with pre-paid evaluation criteria that followed Government best practice procurement processes.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Basic state pension, additional pension and graduated retirement benefit in payment are all generally uprated in April of each year by the retail price index in September of the previous year. Published departmental expenditure estimates assume this will continue in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question which asked what methodology the Government uses to calculate the impact of the Retail Price Index on pensioners. I am replying in her absence. (170265)
Pensioners' retail price indices are calculated separately for one and two person households where the head of the household is retired (at least 65 years of age for men and 60 years or more for women) and economically inactive, and where at least three quarters of the household's income is from state benefits. The expenditure of these households is excluded from the main retail prices index (RPI). Other pensioner households are covered by the main RPI although separate indices are not calculated for them.
The price indicators used in the calculation of the pensioner indices are essentially the same as those used in the main RPI. Prices are collected for over 650 price indicators in around 150 locations across the UK. The detailed price indices for these indicators are combined together to form the overall pensioner indices using weights specific to the expenditure patterns of the two types of pensioner household.
Some categories of expenditure are excluded from the pensioner indices. These include canteen meals and housing costs, the latter because the price indicators used in the main RPI are not appropriate as pensioners are mostly cushioned against rises in housing costs by rebates. It would be technically difficult to compile separate house price indicator items for these households. Examples of other items that are excluded include NHS prescription, dental and eyesight test charges, none of which are paid by pensioners.
The pensioner indices are published quarterly.
Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate the Government has made of the impact of changing (a) food, (b) utility and (c) transport prices on pensioners over each of the next three years. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Pensioner benefits are annually uprated, in the main, by the retail price index or in the case of the guarantee credit by the average earnings index. The RPI is based on a basket of goods and services of which food, utility bills and transport are significant component parts.
The Office for National Statistics annually revise the goods and services within the basket to ensure that the weighing of food, utility bills and transport in the RPI accurately reflects their share of average expenditure.
Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of how the impact of inflation on pensioners standard of life has compared with the impact on the average UK citizens standard of life in each of the last three years; and what projections he has made for figures equivalent for each of the next three years. 
The following table shows the annual rate of change of the retail prices index (RPI) pensioner price indices for one- and two-pensioner households as well as the all items RPI for the last three years. The figure for the third quarter of 2007 is also provided.
|Percentage change on year earlier|
|All items index||One-pensioner households index||Two-pensioner households index|
The Governments projections for inflation are published in table B3: Economic assumptions for the public finance projections in the 2007 pre-Budget report and comprehensive spending review. The Government do not forecast the rate of change of the RPI pensioner price indices.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his most recent estimate is of the proportion of the target audience for personal
accounts which will be (a) subject to means-testing, (b) able to expect real returns of less than £2 for each £1 invested and (c) able to expect real returns of less than £1 for each £1 invested; and if he will make a statement. 
Our previous analysis of a whole range of illustrative individuals shows that the large majority of individuals in the target group, including many of those with entitlement to income-related benefits, can expect to benefit from saving, thanks to low charges, the employer contribution and tax relief. Our previous publication, financial incentives to save for retirement, presented detailed analysis on this issue.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of overseas recipients of SERPS or S2P who have had their benefits frozen; and what estimate he has made of the cost of unfreezing those benefits. 
1. Estimates based on the latest available September 2006 RPWB dataset (5 per cent. administrative data sample)
2. There are very few overseas UK state pension recipients who are entitled to S2P only, without an entitlement to SERPS. In order to obtain more reliable estimates, recipients of S2P and/or SERPS have been aggregated.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The information is not available in the format requested. Direct Payment is now the normal method of payment, and around 99 per cent. of pensioners are paid this way. A further 80,000 pensioners receive their state pension by cheque, 15,000 of whom are over the age of 85.
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his estimate is of the number of state pensioners who would be affected by proposed strikes within the Pensions Service. 
Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which countries have (a) signed and (b) ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; when the UK Government intends to ratify the convention; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. McGuire: By 10 December, 118 countries had signed, and eleven had ratified, the convention since it was opened for signature on 30 March 2007. A list of signatories can be found on the UN website at
1. Figures rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Parliamentary constituencies are assigned by matching postcodes against the relevant ONS postcode directory.
3. There has been a decline in the number of people over 60 in Leicester South since 2003.
Information directorate 100 per cent data.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|