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Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make an estimate of the percentage increase in the basic state pension which could be paid in each year between 2009-10 and 2012-13 were tax revenue to be increased by the amount needed to enable the annual surplus in the National Insurance Fund to be used for such a purpose. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: When national insurance contributions are made, a proportion of them go directly to help fund the NHS, while the rest are paid into the national insurance fund (NIF). The fund pays out contributory benefits to which people who have paid sufficient contributions are entitled, such as the basic state pension, incapacity benefit and contribution-based jobseekers allowance.
National insurance contributions and associated social security benefits operate within the Governments fiscal rules designed to ensure sound public finances and when there is a surplus, it is invested in public services. Any surplus of contributions over social security benefits in any one year (the NIF surplus) is not therefore an extra resource available to spend.
As the Government Actuarys latest report on the draft Social Security Benefits up-rating and Contributions re-rating Orders (CM7312) notes, the excess of income overpayments each year is the difference between two large numbers and so quite small percentage changes in either of them results in a large percentage change in the surplus income. This, in turn, could have a significant effect on the fund balances.
However, if the equivalent of the national insurance funds annual excess of receipts overpayments projected by the Acting Government Actuary for the years 2009-10 to 2012-13 were paid in its entirety to recipients of basic state pension, this would lead to an estimated percentage increase in the basic state pension of around 24 per cent. in 2009-10 and around 6 per cent. in the years 2010-11 to 2012-13. Any increase in basic state pension expenditure has a cumulative impact on Government spending going forward.
The equivalent of the excess of receipts overpayments would need to be raised through tax increases to maintain the Governments fiscal strategy. The Government are committed to long-term sustainable state pension provision and views short-term spending of the NIF surplus as unaffordable going forward. The Government have guaranteed the basic state pension will increase each year in line with prices or 2.5 per cent., whichever is higher, and subject to affordability and the fiscal position, to increase the basic state pension in line with earnings in 2012, but by the end of the next Parliament at the latest.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the cost of increasing the second adult rebate for carers to the level of the single persons discount on council tax; and what assessment he has made of the merits of such an increase. 
Mr. Timms: There is no second adult rebate specifically for carers. Certain carers are disregarded for council tax purposes, as long as the person they are caring for meets the qualifying conditions. The purpose of the disregard is to ensure that a person who would otherwise be entitled to a single person discount does not lose it because they require a carer to live with them.
Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the Answer of 28 January 2008, Official Report, columns 66-7W, on unemployment, what the evidential basis was for the Secretary of States Answer of 7 January 2008, Official Report, column 5, on child poverty, that the UK had been lagging below the average in Europe regarding the proportion of children living in workless households but was now above the average; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms [holding answer 7 February 2008]: The evidential basis for the Secretary of States answer of 7 January 2008, Official Report, column 5, about the UKs relative improvement on child poverty compared to other European countries was the European Community Household Panel Survey (for 1997 data) and the EU Survey of Income and Living Conditions (for 2005 data).
In 1997, the UK had the highest child poverty rate in Europe. The UKs child poverty rate was 27 per cent. in 1997, compared to an EU average (EU-15) of 19 per cent. The 2005 data show that child poverty was 22 per cent. in the UK, approaching the EU average (EU-25) of 19 per cent. Due to the change in data sources data from 1997 and 2005 are not directly comparable.
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department paid to Zurich Financial Services in each year since 1997; and what the purpose of the payment was in each case. 
Unfortunately, the DWP accounting system in operation at the time did not record the specific reason for individual payments but classified them into broad accountancy groupings. For this reason and the time elapsed since the last of the payments were made, it is not possible to say what the purpose of each payment was.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 2 April 2008, Official Report, column 1060W, on bail: housing, what local schemes are being considered under the Bail Accommodation Support Scheme; what the (a) area, (b) number of dwellings being considered and (c) the nature of the dwellings current use is in each case; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hanson: A list of the locations where properties have either been obtained or are being sought by ClearSprings for the Bail Accommodation and Support Service was published on 21 January 2008, Official Report , columns 1655-58W. We are continually assessing the need and ClearSprings will consider a number of properties in each location. They are required to consult the local authority, the police and probation on the suitability of properties. The properties used are normal residential dwellings and remain so while occupied by those benefiting from the service.
|Table 1: Offences of total burglary recorded by the police, 1997 to 2006-07|
|Number of offences|
|(1) The National Crime Recording Standard was introduced in April 2002. Figures before and after that date are not directly comparable.|
Home Office recorded crime statistics.
|Table 2: Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts for burglary, England and Wales, 1997 to 2006( 1, 2)|
|Proceeded against||Found guilty|
|(1) These data are on the principal offence basis.|
(2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
Court Proceedings Database.
Office for Criminal Justice Reform.
Ministry of Justice.
Recorded crime and court proceedings statistics are from two different databases and recorded in quite different ways. Recorded crime data are provided on a financial year basis and count offences whereas court proceedings data are on a calendar year basis and count offenders. Therefore, these two separate data-sets are not directly comparable.
The figures given in the table on court proceedings relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences, the offence selected is the one for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many children under 16 years of age received (a) a criminal conviction and (b) a criminal conviction for an offence committed on school property in each year since 1997. 
The figures given in the table relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences, the offence selected is the one for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.
My Department holds information on defendants proceeded against and found guilty of criminal offences in England and Wales. These data include information on the age and sex of the defendants, the court where proceedings took place as well as the outcome for specific offences including sentencing information. The court proceedings database does not hold information on the individual circumstances of offences beyond that described in the statute for which prosecutions are brought. For example the Ministry of Justice cannot separately identify offences committed on school property from offences committed elsewhere.
|Number of defendants aged 10 to 15 found guilty for all offences, England and Wales, 1997 to 2006( 1, 2)|
|(1) These data are on the principal offence basis.|
(2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces.
As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when a revised version of the Charter for the Bereaved will be issued; and if he will ensure that charities representing those bereaved as a result of sudden medical deaths are consulted before the revision takes place. 
I will be issuing the draft Charter for Bereaved People for further consultation in the early summer. The draft charter was published alongside the draft Coroners Bill in June 2006. Like the Bill, the
charter has been subject to extensive consultation and has been revised in response to helpful and constructive feedback from stakeholders, including charities representing the bereaved as a result of sudden medical deaths. These charities will also be invited to comment on the revised draft.
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