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18 Mar 2008 : Column 1064W—continued

Departmental Official Residences

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many ministerial residences were available to his Department's Ministers in each of the last 10 years. [178885]

Mrs. McGuire: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet Office, my hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Watson), on 19 February 2008, Official Report, column 688W.

Departmental Pensions

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what percentage of staff in his Department were making additional voluntary contributions to their pensions in each of the last two years. [193553]

Mrs. McGuire: The total staff with AVC's at 1 March 2007 was 360 (0.28 per cent. of DWP total staff).

The total staff with AVC's at 1 March 2008 was 351 (0.27 per cent. of DWP total staff).

Departmental Public Participation

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer of 1 October 2007, Official Report, columns 2367-8W, on departments: public participation, how many citizens' juries his Department has held in the last six months; and for what purposes they were held. [189917]

Mrs. McGuire: DWP has not yet facilitated any citizens' juries. We do however conduct a wide range of citizen engagement activities across the Department; these are designed to ensure that citizens' needs are placed at the forefront of improving service delivery and in policy development.

Disabled: Equal Opportunities

Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps the Government take to monitor compliance with equal opportunities legislation in the employment of disabled people by television and broadcasting companies and makers of television programmes. [192734]

Mrs. McGuire: My Department undertakes regular research on how employers and service providers are meeting their duties under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. The latest research report, ("Organisations' Responses to the Disability Discrimination Act" - DWP Research Report 410(1)), which was published in 2007, provided data on whether organisations had employed disabled people; broken down by the size of employer and whether the
18 Mar 2008 : Column 1065W
organisations were from the public, private or voluntary sector. It did not, however, monitor specific types of industry, such as television and broadcasting. The research shows that, overall, 47 per cent. of all the establishments surveyed reported having employed at least one disabled member of staff within the past 10 years, and 34 per cent. said that they employed at least one disabled person at the time of the survey.

The Labour Force Survey provides quarterly statistics on the employment rates of disabled people, and provides a breakdown by industry sector. For example, the survey for the period October to December 2007 shows that, of disabled people in work, 7.64 per cent. were employed in the ‘Transport, Storage and Communication’ sector. However, data for this sector cannot be broken down further by individual types of communication, such as television and broadcasting.

The broadcasting regulatory regime includes obligations on radio and television broadcasters to promote equal opportunities in employment on the basis of gender, race and disability. The broadcasting regulator, Ofcom, monitors and reports on broadcasters' compliance with the obligations.

Employment Level

Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the target employment rates of (a) women and (b) older workers were for each year since 1997; and whether these targets were met. [188389]

Mr. Timms: We do not have a target employment rate for women. However, we do know that female employment is over 70 per cent. and the trend has been upwards for some time. As a result the UK has already exceeded the EU target for getting female employment above 60 per cent. by 2010.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) does not set numerical targets for the employment rate of older people. The public service agreement (PSA) targets set in the 2002 and 2004 comprehensive spending reviews were, taking account of the economic cycle, to increase the employment rate of people aged 50 and over, and significantly reduce the difference between their employment rate and the overall rate.

The 2002 PSA target covered people aged 50 to state pension age. The 2004 target extended the age range to people aged 50 to 69 to take account of, and encourage, working past state pension age.

The employment rates for older people are set out in the following tables.

Employment rates for people aged 50 to state pension age and 16 to state pension age spring 2003 to spring 2006 (2002 PSA)
Percentage
Employment rate 50 to state pension age Employment rate 16 to state pension age

Baseline spring 2003

70.0

74.9

Spring 2006

70.9

74.6

Source:
Labour Force Survey

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Employment rates for people aged 50 to 69 and 16 to state pension age quarter 2 2005 to quarter 2 2008 (2004 PSA)
Percentage
Employment rate 50 to 69 Employment rate 16 to State Pension Age

Baseline quarter 2 2005

54.6

74.9

Quarter 2 2007

55.5

74.3

Quarter 2 2008

n/a

n/a

Source:
Labour Force Survey

Interim statistics from quarter 2 2007 indicate that the 2004 PSA target is on course to be met.

In addition, the European Council has agreed a target for increasing the average EU employment rate for older men and women (aged 55 to 64) to 50 per cent. by 2010. The UK has already met this target with an employment rate of 57.4 per cent. for this age group in 2006.

Housing Benefit

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will bring forward proposals to abolish the single room rent. [193922]

Mr. Plaskitt: We have no plans to abolish the single room rent, which is designed to ensure that the level of housing benefit for single young people is based on the size and type of accommodation that they would typically occupy and, importantly, be able to afford.

Incapacity Benefit: Dorset

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what average length of time elapsed between the date of application and date of determination of applications for incapacity benefit in Dorset in each of the last three years; [190590]

(2) what average length of time Dorset residents in receipt of incapacity benefit had to wait for a personal capability assessment in each of the last three years. [190611]

Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 29 February 2008]: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Lesley Strathie, dated 18 March 2008:


18 Mar 2008 : Column 1067W
Dorset Incapacity Benefit AACT
Days Target (days)

Year ending March 2006

49.41

18

Year ending March 2007

16.25

18

Year to January 2008

11. 05

18


Jobcentres: Telephone Services

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many incidents of Jobcentre 0845 telephone system failure have occurred in the last 12 months; [188523]

(2) what mechanisms his Department has in place to inform callers of contact alternatives when a Jobcentre's telephony service fails to connect to an operator. [188524]

Mrs. McGuire: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide my hon. Friend with the information requested.

Letter from Lesley Strathie, dated 18 March 2008:


18 Mar 2008 : Column 1068W

Pension Credit: Expenditure

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the distribution by household income quintile of the expenditure arising from pension credit in each year since its introduction. [186977]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Information on the expenditure on pension credit by equivalised income quintile on an after-housing cost basis is set out in the following table for available years. These figures are rounded to the nearest £50 million.

Expenditure on pension credit by equivalised income quintile across all individuals, 2004-05 to 2005-06
£ million, after housing costs
Bottom quintile Second quintile Middle quintile Fourth quintile Top quintile Total

2004-05

1,200

2,150

1,500

1,050

150

5,971

2005-06

1,150

2,450

1,450

1,150

200

6,426

Notes: 1. Pension credit was introduced in October 2003. This means data is available only for 2004-05 and 2005-06. 2. All figures are shown in nominal terms (i.e. not adjusted for inflation). 3. The information shown is for Great Britain. 4. Shares of benefit expenditure by quintile according to the Family Resources Survey have been applied to administrative data to derive a split by quintile. Administrative data totals are available to the nearest million pounds, while information based on survey data is presented rounded to the nearest £50 million. 5. The Family Resources Survey is known to undercount receipt of certain benefits. This methodology assumes that this undercount is spread proportionally across quintiles. For example, if 30 per cent. of expenditure is in a certain quintile, this assumes 30 per cent. of any undercount is also in that quintile. 6. The income measures used to derive the estimates shown employ the same methodology as the Department for Work and Pensions publication “Households Below Average Income” series. 7. The quintiles are derived using OECD equivalisation factors.

The relatively low level of expenditure in the bottom quintile is partly explained by the low proportion of pensioners in that quintile, with only 15 per cent. of pensioners in the bottom quintile of incomes across all individuals. Many pensioners are moved out of this quintile by pension credit and other benefits, so expenditure in the lowest quintile is expected to be relatively low.

Pensioners

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners lived in the United Kingdom in the latest period for which figures are available, broken down by income quintile. [186978]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Information regarding the income distribution of individuals is available in “Households Below Average Income 1994/95-2005/06 (Revised)”, a copy of which is available in the Library.

Latest information relates to 2005-06. The number of pensioners by quintile of the net income after housing costs income distribution is shown in the following table.


18 Mar 2008 : Column 1069W
Number of pensioners in each quintile of the income distribution, measured after housing costs
Number ( m illion)

Bottom quintile

1.6

Second quintile

3.2

Third quintile

2.5

Fourth quintile

2.0

Top quintile

1.5

All pensioners

10.8

Notes:
1. The income measures used to derive the estimates shown employ the same methodology as the Department for Work and Pensions publication “Households Below Average Income” (HBAI) series, which uses disposable household income, adjusted (or ‘equivalised’) for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living.
2. The Family Resources Survey does not include pensioners living in communal establishments, such as care homes and nursing homes.
3. A pensioner is defined as an individual over state pension age.
4. The figures are based on OECD equivalisation factors.
5. The Table shows numbers in millions rounded to the nearest 100,000.
Source:
Family Resources Survey 2005/06.

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