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Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the proportion of private sector employers who offered a pension to their employees in each year since 1997 for which figures are available. 
|Percentage of firms with any pension provision|
1. All figures are estimates taken from the Employers' Pension Provision Survey. 2005 is the latest year published. The coverage of the survey is private sector employers in Great Britain.
2. Stakeholder pensions were introduced in April 2001, and from October 2001 employers with five or more employees and no other pension provision were required to provide access to Stakeholder pensions. This is reflected in the increase in employer pension provision between 2000 and 2003.
3. Pension provision includes occupational schemes, Group Personal Pensions, Stakeholder Pensions (including schemes with no members and/or no contributions) and firms that contribute to Personal Pensions.
DWP Employers' Pension Provision Survey
Many employers already help their workers to provide for their retirement through workplace pensions. To encourage this and increase participation in workplace pension schemes, our reform programme includes measures that will remove some of the regulatory burdens on schemes and employers and from 2012 employers will have a statutory duty to enrol workers into workplace pension saving that meets minimum standards. We estimate these reforms will lead to between six million to nine million more people newly participating or saving more in workplace pensions.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department has spent on (a) pension credit, (b) the second state pension, (c) the basic state pension, (d) widow's benefit, (e) free television licenses, (f) Christmas bonuses, (g) attendance allowance paid to pensioners and (h) carers allowance paid to pensioners expressed in current prices in each of the last 10 years. 
|Expenditure on selected DWP benefits paid to pensioners|
|Great Britain, 2008- 09 prices||(a) Pension Credit and predecessors||(b) SERPS and S2P||(c) Basic State Pension||(d) Widow's and Bereavement Benefits||(e) Over 75 TV Licence||(f) Christmas Bonus||(g) Attendance Allowance||(h) Carer's Allowance|
1. Pension credit replaced income support for people over 60/minimum income guarantee in 2003-04. Figures include spending on men aged 60 to 64.
2. The main reason for the decline in the payment of widow's and bereavement benefits from 2002-03 is due to changes in the criteria for receipt of the benefits. Widow's benefit is now closed to new claimants, who now receive a bereavement benefit instead. In addition, persons in receipt of widow's and bereavement benefits now receive state pension on reaching state pension age. Previously, persons in receipt of widow's benefit continued to receive this benefit on reaching state pension age and did not receive a state pension. Also, a declining mortality rate means a slight reduction in the numbers claiming these benefits.
3. Over 75 TV licences expenditure is on a UK basis, and was introduced in 2000-01.
4. Christmas bonus comprises of contributory and non-contributory payments and includes all payments made including a small amount to people not of pension age.
5. Carer's allowance replaced invalid care allowance in 2002-03. Consistent estimates of payment of the benefit to pensioners are only available from 2003-04.
DWP Benefits expenditure tables and accounting data for 2007-08.
The Government have introduced a number of measures to help older people out of poverty. In 1997, the poorest pensioners lived on around £69 a week, today pension credit ensures that no-one needs to live on less than £124.05 a week (£189.35 for a couple). We have successively raised the standard minimum guarantee in pension credit at least in line with earnings in every year since its introduction, and the value of the safety-net we provide for the poorest pensioners has increased by over a third in real terms since 1997.
We have made good progress in tackling pensioner poverty. Between 1998-99 and 2006-07 the number of pensioners in low income in the UK has fallen from 2.9 million to 2.1 million (measured by 60 per cent. of contemporary median income after housing costs.)
Our commitments in the Pensions Act 2007 to continue to uprate the pension credit standard minimum guarantee at least in line with earnings over the long term, and to reintroduce the earnings link to basic state pension from 2012, or by the end of the next Parliament, will help secure the gains we have made into the future.
We will continue to strive to ensure that older people are aware of, and take up their entitlements through initiatives such as: using sophisticated data matching to identify those who may be entitled to, but not currently receiving, benefits; home visits for vulnerable customers; local and national advertising and media campaigns; a simple and straight-forward claim process; and ever closer working with partner organisations.
In addition to pension credit we have increased winter fuel payments to £200 for households with someone aged 60-79, and £300 for those with someone aged 80 or over. We will be making an additional payment for winter 2008-09 of £50 for households with someone aged 60 to 79 and £100 for those with someone aged 80 or over. Since 1997, we have also introduced free eye-tests, free off-peak bus travel for pensioners and free television licences for over 75s.
Ms Rosie Winterton: Addressing pensioner poverty has been one of the Government's key priorities since 1997. The number of pensioners in relative low income has fallen from 2.9 million in 1998-99 to 2.1 million in 2006-07. Pensioners are less likely to be in poverty, as measured by relative incomes after housing costs are accounted for, than the population as a whole.
This autumn 2008, we are introducing a measure which will enable claims to housing benefit and council tax benefit made over the phone with pension credit to be forwarded directly to the local authority without the need for a signaturethis is a significant simplification to the claim process and should benefit thousands of pensioners.
In February 2007, an additional question was introduced in the pension credit application process to identify relevant caring responsibilities in order to invite the customer, where appropriate, to claim carer's allowance using a new, shortened, claim pack specifically designed for people of pension age.
In addition we are using sophisticated data matching to identify eligible non- recipients, home visits for vulnerable customers, targeted local marketing and media campaigns and ever closer working with partner organisations.
|Number of working age adults who were not members of any private pension scheme (million)||Total number of working age adults (million)||Percentage of working age adults who were not a member of any private pension scheme|
1. All figures are estimates and are taken from the Family Resources Survey (FRS). 2005-06 is the latest year for which these data are available.
2. Results are presented for 1990-2000 onwards. Data in earlier years are not comparable because of the implementation of improvements in government surveys relating to pensions from that date.
3. Private pension refers to either an occupational, personal or stakeholder pension scheme.
4. Working age is ages 20-59 for women and 20-64 for men.
Family Resources Survey, Great Britain, 1999-2000 to 2005-06
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