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The Department is currently drafting the revised strategy following an extensive regional and national consultation process involving carers and representative organisations. The Department plans to publish the new strategy in late spring 2008.
Mr. Plaskitt: Jobcentre Plus already has a robust adult national insurance number (NINO) allocation process which includes thorough face-to-face interviews with applicants, and the use of specialist document examination tools for verification of identity documents.
This robust process has resulted in 1,020 refusals during 2006-2007 due to suspect identity documentation and led to 364 prosecutions. A further 12,602 refusals between April 2006 and November 2007 were made on the basis of failing to provide sufficient evidence of identity. An additional 8,643 applications have been refused between July 2006 and November 2007, on the basis of failing to provide proof of the right to work.
We are continually looking to strengthen our checks on the identity of individuals and we will be taking full advantage of the opportunities from biometric development and other cross-government initiatives as they become available.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans to amend the requirement that participants in the proposed flexible New Deal complete four weeks of full-time activity; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: Flexible New Deal providers will provide programmes of support that address individuals' needs which may include periods of full-time activity to help customers get and sustain work. The expectation remains that no customer who completes 12 months on the flexible New Deal could have done so without undertaking an appropriate period of full-time activity. The Government will work with providers on the best way to include this in flexible New Deal contracts.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans his Department has to co-locate the Pension Service and the Disability and Carers Service staff in the same offices. 
Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) the UK received pension credit in each year since its inception. 
|The number of households receiving pension credit 2003-2007|
|Jarrow Constituency||South Tyneside Local Authority||North East Government Office Region||Great Britain|
| Notes: 1. The number of households in receipt are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Pension Credit was introduced in October 2003 so data for 2003 is as at November. 3. Household recipients are those people who claim pension credit either for themselves only or on behalf of a household. Source: DWP Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent data|
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The business plan for the new Pension, Disability and Carers Service Agency will be published ready for its launch on 1 April 2008, and this will contain information about how the merger will be taken forward from that date.
Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the evidential basis is for the new Pension, Disability and Carers Service Agency providing a more effective service; 
(2) what account was taken of the proportion of the customers of the Disability and Carers Service who are now also customers of the Pension Service in deciding to establish the new Pension, Disability and Carers Service Agency. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 25 February 2008]: The decision to create the new agency took into account evidence from the customers of the currently separate Disability and Carers Service and The Pension Service. Customers say that the most difficult problems they face are when they need to deal with more than one part of the Department for Work and Pensions, and that these overlaps occur most often when benefits for disabled people and carers are involved. The decision also reflects work undertaken by the two agenciesfor example in how we serve carers, how we provide a face-to-face service where we need towhich concluded that the existence of two agencies created barriers to customer service that had to be removed. The new agency will also create efficiencies through merging the top teams and, over time, the support functions of the existing agencies, which will allow proportionately more resource to be redirected to front-line customer service.
Currently 53 per cent. of Disability and Carers Service customers are over pension age and are customers of both agencies. Demographic changes mean that this overlap will increase over time. On current estimates, by 2015, we can expect a 40 per cent. increase in the number of disability living allowance recipients who are pensioners. The increasing shared customer base was a principal factor in the decision to establish the new agency.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent estimate he has made of levels of pensioner poverty; and what steps he is taking to improve the financial prospects of pensioners in Essex. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Since 1997 over one million pensioners have been lifted out of poverty (measured by 60 per cent. of relative income after housing costs). Pensioners are now no more likely to be in poverty than the population as a whole.
There are a range of measures to improve pensioner incomes, such as minimum income guarantee and its successor pension credit, winter fuel payments, free TV licences for those aged 75 and over, and above inflation increases in the basic state pension.
Specific information regarding low income for the United Kingdom is available in Households Below Average Income 1994-95 to 2005-06 (revised). The latest information available shows that in 2005-06, 17 per cent. of pensioners were living in households with below 60 per cent. of median income (after housing costs). This equates to 1.8 million pensioners.
We support future pensioners in building up their retirement incomes. We have reformed the state pension to make it simpler, fairer and more generous, ending some of the historical inequalities in entitlement, especially for women. Our reforms will ensure that the state pension will continue to provide a credible foundation for additional pension saving.
The Pensions Bill includes our proposal to automatically enrol eligible workers into a workplace pension scheme or a new savings system of personal accounts, which will help people on lower incomes to build up their own pension pot to provide a private
Ms Dari Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners in Stockton South constituency received assistance under the minimum income guarantee in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: In Stockton South 3,040 households were in receipt of the pension credit guarantee credit as at August 2007of which 1,070 households were in receipt of the guarantee credit only and 1,970 households were in receipt of both the guarantee credit and savings credit in Stockton South.
1. The figures provided are early estimates. The preferred data source for figures supplied by DWP is the work and pensions longitudinal study (WPLS). However, the figure provided is the latest available figure, which is taken from the QMS scan at 31 August 2007. These are adjusted using the historical relationship between WPLS and QMS data to give an estimate of the final WPLS figure.
The first part of this package was implemented by the Pensions Act 2007 which addresses the historic inequalities in entitlement, especially for women; and provides for a gradual increase in state pension age to ensure the system is sustainable in the face of demographic change. Together, the measures ensure there is a solid foundation upon which people can plan for their retirement.
Building on these reforms, the current Pensions Bill will extend the benefits of a workplace pension across the working age population through the introduction of auto-enrolment into a qualifying pension and the introduction of simple, low-cost, personal accounts for those without access to a good quality workplace pension. The Bill will simplify pensions and enable more individuals to take responsibility for saving for their own retirement.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Estimates of take-up rates and the number of eligible pensioners not claiming pension credit are available in the DWP publication series entitled Income Related Benefits Estimates of Take-up. Copies of the latest publication, plus past reports, can be found in the Library.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 10 January 2008, Official Report, columns 730-1W, on unemployment, how many households included no-one in full-time employment in (a) 1997 and (b) 1979. 
|Working-age households in which no-one works full-time, United Kingdom, April-June 1997 (not seasonally adjusted)|
1. A working-age household is a household that includes at least one person of working age (male aged 16 to 64 or female aged 16 to 59).
2. Estimates have not been adjusted for households with unknown economic status.
3. Base for percentages excludes households with unknown economic status.
4. As with any sample survey, estimates from the Labour Force Survey are subject to a margin of uncertainty.
Labour Force Survey household dataset