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If there were 100 per cent. take up of the main income-related benefits by everyone in the population entitled to claim them, it is estimated that the number of children below 60 per cent. of contemporary median
income would fall by around 200,000 before housing costs are taken into account and 100,000 on an after housing costs basis, based on 2008-09 benefit rates.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of 60 to 64 year olds lived in households below 40 per cent. of median income (a) before and (b) after deducting household costs in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Specific information regarding low income for the UK is available in Households Below Average Income 1994-95 to 2006-07. This annual report, which is a National Statistics publication, includes the numbers and proportions of pensioners with incomes below 50 per cent., 60 per cent. and 70 per cent. of median income, and the proportions in persistent poverty.
Information covering 40 per cent. of median income is not presented in the Households Below Average Income series as it is an unreliable measure of poverty. This is because households stating the lowest incomes to the Family Resources Survey may not actually have the lowest living standards. Many people who report very low incomes appear to have high spending. Hence any statistics on numbers in this group may be misleading.
It is also the case that the Institute for Fiscal Studies in their Poverty and Inequality in the UK: 2008 report (June 2008) have said
Levels of material deprivation generally fall as incomes rise, but children in households with less than 40 per cent. of median incomeso-called severe povertyare, on average, less deprived than those in households with between 40 per cent. and 60 per cent. of median income. This reinforces existing concerns that households with the lowest recorded incomes in HBAI are not those with the lowest living standards."
Under-recording of very fragmented incomes. If a household draws on a high number of different income sources, some may be omitted from their survey responses.
Some households will have transitional periods of low income, being between (possibly well paid) jobs at the precise time of survey interview or being self-employed where incomes can vary greatly from year to year. Older households could be waiting to receive a private or company pension, awaiting the outcome of a benefits claim or be in probate after a partner has died.
There will also be some households who are drawing on savings to cope with perhaps a longer period of minimal incomes.
Finally, there will be some households who are genuinely having to cope on very low incomes, and perhaps be getting into debt to maintain levels of expenditure.
|Table 1: Number and proportion of 60 to 64-year-olds in households below 40 per cent. of median income|
|Before housing costs||After housing costs|
|Coverage||Year||Total number of 60 to 64-year-olds (million)||Number below 40 per cent. of median income (million)||Percentage below 40 per cent. of median income||Number below 40 per cent. of median income (million)||Percentage below 40 per cent. of median income|
1. These statistics are based on Households Below Average Income data.
2. Data for Northern Ireland have only been collected since 2002-03, so the information shown is for the United Kingdom from 2002-03 to 2006-07, and for Great Britain for 1997-98 to 2001-02.
3. Small changes should be treated with caution as these will be affected by sampling error and variability in non-response.
4. The reference period for Household Below Average Income figures is single financial years.
5. This response includes a lower income threshold of 40 per cent. of the contemporary median income. The data for households with an income lower than 50 per cent. of median are not considered to be accurate as an indicator of living standards. Many of these households while having very low incomes would not be considered poor, but who do genuinely have few sources of income in the short-run. These figures are not National Statistics and caution must be applied because those people stating the lowest incomes in the FRS may not actually have the lowest living standards.
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 (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.
7. The figures are based on OECD equivalisation factors.
8. Figures have been presented on both a before housing cost and after housing cost basis. For before housing cost, housing costs (such as rent, water rates, mortgage interest payments, structural insurance payments and ground rent and service charges) are not deducted from income, while for after housing cost they are.
|9. The Governments preferred measures of low income for pensioners are based on incomes measured after housing costs. Measuring income on an after housing costs basis is appropriate, as two thirds of pensioners own their property outright and so face lower housing costs to meet from their current income while still deriving value from their home. This is different to the current working age population and to the situation for pensioners in the past. Considering pensioners incomes compared to others after deducting housing costs allows for more meaningful comparisons of income between working age people and pensioners, and between pensioners over time.|
10. As part of PSA Delivery Agreement 17 three indicators of low income poverty will be monitored: the percentage of pensioners below 60 per cent. contemporary median income, 50 per cent. median income and 60 per cent. of 1998-99 median income uprated in line with prices.
Households Below Average Income, DWP
Mrs. McGuire: The Department for Work and Pensions was formed in June 2001 and no data are available prior to that date. At that time the compulsory retirement age for the Department was 65 for those below the senior civil service grades. For the years ending September 2001, 2002 and 2003 the numbers of employees who were asked to retire at age 65 were 123, 125 and 131 respectively.
From October 2003 the Department introduced arrangements that allowed its employees below the senior civil service grades to remain in employment beyond the age of 65. This was formalised in October 2006 when the Department removed its retirement age altogether for employees below the senior civil service grades. Employees can retire, if they wish, when they reach civil service minimum pension age. For most employees that is age 60, but they are not obliged to retire on reaching that age.
Until October 2006 the mandatory retirement age for senior civil servants was 60. After this date it was raised to 65, where it currently remains. No employees at senior civil service grades in the Department have been asked to retire on reaching age 65.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assistance his Department provides to school leavers who have been unemployed for (a) more than six months and (b) more than one year to help them take up (i) further education and (ii) life-long learning opportunities. 
Mr. Timms: Young people are supported by Connexions, where the focus is upon keeping young people in education and learning rather than solely upon moving them into employment. The service is managed locally by Connexions Partnerships that bring together all the key youth support services and young people are actively involved in its design and delivery.
Jobcentre Plus provides a valuable service for 16 and 17 year-olds in financial hardship, such as those who have been in care or who are estranged from parents and are now living independently. Without jobseeker's allowance they would have no income if they were unemployed.
Changes were made to new deal from April this year to allow 18-year olds who had spent at least six months not in education, employment or training, by agreement with their personal adviser, to be fast tracked to the gateway of the new deal for young people on a voluntary basis. Following the introduction of the flexible new deal next year, this group of young job seekers will be fast tracked on a mandatory basis to the supported job search stage of the new programme.
Every participant in the new deals, regardless of their age, can call on the services of a personal adviser, who can help the claimant to look for a job or overcome their own personal barriers to finding work. The new deals allow those out of work to take a new look at their own personal situation and to take the skills and experience that they may have already and build on them to create better opportunities for work.
Jobcentre Plus signposts its customers to relevant non-Department for Work and Pensions contracted provision, ie; University for Industry (Ufl) learndirect, apprenticeship opportunities, career development loans, adult learning grant, Nextstep and IAG (Information, Advice and Guidance) provision in Scotland and Wales.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many applications for (a) crisis loans, (b) budgeting loans and (c) community care grants were received in (i) each Jobcentre Plus district and (ii) each region of the UK in each month since October 2003; and if he will make a statement. 
Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many social fund loans were found to have been issued to people who had fraudulently used someone else's identity to apply for the loan in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Plaskitt: There are no recorded outcomes for the current reporting year where social fund loans have been paid to individuals who have fraudulently used someone else's identity to apply for the loan.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how much of the money allocated to each local authority to make (a) exceptional hardship
payments and (b) exceptional circumstances payments was unspent in each year between 1991 and 2001; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) whether the calculation of the amount allocated to local authorities for the payment of (a) exceptional hardship payments and (b) exceptional circumstances payments takes account of average rental prices (i) nationally and (ii) in the relevant local authority; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Plaskitt: There was no requirement for local authorities to return any unspent exceptional hardship payments. Therefore, the information requested is not available. Department for Work and Pensions allocated payments of exceptional hardship payments according to the local authoritys case load and the number of cases restricted by the rent restriction rules.
James Purnell: Mr. Collins holds and has held no such post. My Department has a contract in place with Mr. Collins under which he can be paid for providing speech-writing services to the Department. The contract ends in March 2009.
David Simpson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many staff in her Department have had five or more periods of sickness absence of less than five days in two or more of the last five years. 
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