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22 Feb 2008 : Column 1122W—continued

These figures are calculated by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and do not reflect the substantial volumes of renewable electricity secured by the Department during those years.

Employment Schemes

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have found sustained employment through Workstep; and what his Department's annual expenditure on Workstep has been in each year since the scheme was introduced. [178739]

Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 30 January 2008]: Around 2,900 individuals have been recorded as progressing to sustained employment on the Workstep programme up to the end of September 2007.

Information about the Department’s annual spend on Workstep is in the following table.

Workstep spend and numbers helped
Spend (£ million) Number of individuals who received supported employment
















Housing Benefit: Antisocial Behaviour

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the Answers of 18 February 2008, Official Report, columns 235-36W, on housing benefit: anti-social behaviour, how many (a) individuals and (b) households (i) in each of the nine pilot areas and (ii) in the UK were (A) the subject of an order for possession on grounds of anti-social behaviour and subsequently left the property and (B)
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unreasonably refused to engage with the help and support offered as specified in a written warning notice while in receipt of housing benefit in the latest period for which figures are available. [188609]

Mr. Plaskitt: As part of the sanction process, when a possession order is served on a household, the court clerk sends a copy of the order to the Department for Work and Pensions. To date, DWP has not been notified by the court of any relevant orders for possession in the eight pilot areas.

Information on the numbers of orders for possession on grounds of antisocial behaviour in the UK is not available.

State Retirement Pensions

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment for benchmarking purposes he has made of the provision of state pensions in the UK in comparison with other European countries. [185048]

Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 6 February 2008]: Direct comparisons of levels of state pensions between countries can be misleading, as differences may be due to underlying economic conditions or policy choices, such as different costs faced by pensioners and the presence of other policies targeting the welfare of elderly people.

In contrast with many other European countries, the UK’s policy on retirement income provision envisages the state providing benefits that act as a foundation for private saving, and not the state as being the sole provider. The UK state pension system is also structured differently than that in other European countries, in that it targets spending on those on lower incomes, rather than aiming at providing the same level of generosity to all income groups.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report, “Pensions At A Glance 2007”, published on 7 June, confirms that the UK targets the greatest resources on those most in need and that the UK has a very redistributive pension system that is more generous towards people on lower incomes.

Eurostat data indicate that the median income of UK persons aged 65+ (adjusted for cost of living differences), are much higher than the EU average and is the fifth highest in Europe.

The OECD also noted that ‘changes to the public pension system since 1997 have increased future
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benefits for low earners’, with average pensions for this income group up by seven percentage points, while

The average pension promise in 16 OECD countries studied was cut by 22 per cent. In only two countries—Hungary and the United Kingdom—did pension promises increase on average.

This Government are committed to further improve this situation. In fact, the latest assessment of the European Commission on UK pension policy, published at the end of January, endorsed our recent pension reforms, stating that


Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many of those classified as workless households were (a) families with dependants, (b) two parent households, (c) lone parent households, (d) single parent households and (e) claiming incapacity benefit in the last period for which figures are available. [188566]

Mr. Timms: Data on workless households are drawn from the labour force survey. It is not possible to provide data relating to households and individuals on benefits from the labour force survey. The available information is in the table.

Number of working age workless households by type. Great Britain: Quarter 2 (April, May, June) 2007

Two parent household with dependent children


Lone/single parent household with dependent children


Other household with dependent children


Total number of workless households with dependent children


1. Figures are rounded to the nearest thousand. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
2. The figures show the number of working-age households with dependent children where no adult works.
3. A working-age household is a household that includes at least one person of working age (a woman aged between 16 and 59 or a man aged between 16 and 64).
4. Workless individuals are those who are either International Labour Organisation unemployed or economically inactive (that is, not in employment).
5. A dependent child is defined as a child aged under 16 or aged under 19 and in full-time education.
ONS Labour Force Survey

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