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Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the distribution by household income (a) quintile and (b) decile of his Departments expenditure arising from pension credit in each year for which figures are available. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Pension credit helps millions of older people. It ensures no pensioner aged 60 or over should have to live on less than £124.05 per week for a single person and £189.35 for a couple in 2008-09. Pension credit also rewards those aged 65 or over who have made modest provision for their retirement, up to £19.71 for a single person and £26.13 for a couple. Since pension credit was introduced in 2003 the number of pensioners in relative poverty has fallen by around 500,000 (after housing costs).
Pension credit expenditure was £5,971 m in 2004-05, £6,426 million in 2005-06 and £6,689 million in 2006-07. Information on the expenditure on pension credit by equivalised household income quintiles and deciles on an after housing cost basis is set out in the following table for available years. Estimates of pension credit expenditure by equivalised income quintile and deciles below are based on a three year average to help take account of small sample sizes in certain quintiles and deciles and statistical variation in expenditure by quintile across the years.
|Table 1: Expenditure on pension credit by equivalised income quintile based on pensioners only, Great Britain, 2004-05 to 2006-07|
|2004-05 to 2006-07||£ million, after housing costs|
|Table 2: Expenditure on pension credit by equivalised income decile based on pensioners only, Great Britain, 2004-05 to 2006-07|
|2004-05 to 2006-07||£ million, after housing costs|
Pension credit recipients within the top two quintiles would generally be expected to either have severe disabilities or be living within a wider household, such as that of a family member, in these circumstances the pensioners income is assessed independently of the household to establish entitlement to pension credit.
The relatively low level of expenditure in the bottom decile is partly explained by pensioners in these deciles not taking up their benefit entitlement. We continue to strive to ensure people are aware of and claim their entitlement. The Pensions Disability and Carers Service use data matching to identify those likely to be entitled to pension credit and encourage them to make a claim.
The claim process is being made much simpler and more automatic and from October 2008 we are proposing to introduce a measure which will enable pensioners to claim housing benefit and council tax benefit with pension credit entirely over the phone without having to fill in and sign a claim form.
Each week the Pensions Disability and Carers Service is carrying out around 13,000 visits to help the more vulnerable pensioners with benefits. Since the introduction of pension credit the number of pensioners in relative poverty (measured by 60 per cent. of contemporary median income after housing costs) has fallen by around 500,000.
1. Pension credit was introduced in October 2003. This means data are only available for 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07.
2. All figures are shown in nominal terms (ie not adjusted for inflation). Family Resources Survey (FRS) data have been applied to administrative data to derive a split by decile/quintile. Estimates of Pension Credit expenditure by equivalised income decile are based on a three year average to help take account of small sample sizes in certain deciles/quintiles and statistical variation in expenditure by decile/quintile across the years.
3. Administrative data totals are available to the nearest £ million, while information based on survey data is presented rounded to the nearest £50 million.
4. FRS data are based on private households only, while the pension credit expenditure data cover all recipients.
5. Decile amounts may not sum to quintile amounts, because of rounding.
6. The Family Resources Survey is known to undercount receipt of certain benefits. This methodology assumes that this undercount is spread proportionally across deciles.
7. 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.
8. The quintiles and deciles are derived using OECD equivalisation factors.
1. Number of successful claims are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. On flows count the number of spells on this benefit that commenced within each quarter. It does not include flows where people have moved out of one area and into another while remaining on the benefit.
3. Pension credit was introduced on 6 October 2003.
DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study. Please note these statistics are experimental, still in development and should be treated with caution.
|Employer contribution for pension costs|
1. The percentage to be applied to pensionable pay varies depending on the salary bands within The Pension Service. The salary bands were revised in 2007-08.
2. The above employer contributions exclude the pension costs arising from the termination of staff contracts associated with reductions in staffing levels and increases in operational efficiency. These costs were £12.459 million (2005-06), £2.984million (2006-07) and £36.121 million (2007-08).
3. Since 30 July 2007 new entrants have been joining the nuvos section of the PCSPS. This is not a final salary scheme. In pensions terminology this would normally be referred to as a Career Average or CARE scheme. Benefits are linked to salary throughout someone's career rather than their final earnings.
4. The increase in employer contributions between 2002-03 and 2003-04 reflects the increase in staffing needed to handle pension credit take-up.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what national targets have been set for the Pension Service; and what the performance of offices in Devon was in relation to those targets in 2007-08. 
Achieve an accuracy rate of 94 per cent. on decisions on claims for DLA
Achieve an accuracy rate of 94 per cent. on decisions on claims for AA
Achieve a financial accuracy rate of 98 per cent. on CA
Achieve an accuracy rate of 92 per cent. on Pension Credit new claims and changes of circumstances
Achieve an accuracy rate of 98 per cent. on State Pension new claims and change of circumstances
Clear new claims for DLA within an average of 38 days or less
Clear new claims for AA within an average of 16 days or less
Clear new claims for CA within an average of 13.5 days or less
Clear new claims for Pension Credit within an average of 15 days or less
Clear 95% of new claims for State Pension within 60 days or less
Achieve at least 250,000 successful new Pension Credit applications
Achieve a financial value of new Pension Credit applications of £767 million
Ensure that at least 93 per cent. of calls to our telephone service are answered by an adviser
Ensure that less than 1 per cent. of calls to our telephone service receive the engaged tone
The number of DLA/AA cases referred to Tribunal is to be no more than 4.5 per cent.
Achieve the customer satisfaction target of 82 per cent. of customers satisfied with the service provided by DLA/AA/CA
Reduce the cost of processing DLA/AA/CA benefits to £34.35
Reduce sick absence to no more than 8.2 average working days lost
We will undertake throughout the year, specified checks and other actions designed to prevent and detect fraud and correcting fraud and error in a minimum of 50,600 cases as a result.
The 2008-09 Performance standards are published in the Agencys Business Plan.
I am unable to answer the second part of your question as the PDCS does not have offices in Devon. Our work for Devonian customers is carried out in Swansea Pension Centre, but information available does not distinguish between Devonian and other customers served by Swansea.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average income of pensioners in each household income (a) quintile and (b) decile was in (i) 2004-05 and (ii) 2005-06. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Specific information regarding low income for the United Kingdom 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 by quintile of the income distribution.
Information on the median equivalised income of pensioners in each household income quintile and decile over the period 2004-05 to 2006-07 is shown in the tables below. Median equivalised incomes are given rather than mean equivalised incomes as these are less influenced by extreme values. The Households Below Average Income publication also uses median rather than mean equivalised incomes. Distributions by equivalised income decile are based on a three year average to help take account of small sample sizes in certain deciles and statistical variation across the years.
These figures are based on sampling and estimates. Movements in data over short periods may be due to sampling error but over a longer period trends are useful. Incomes in 1996-99 are therefore included for reference. Particular caution is required when looking at the incomes of the lowest deciles as those 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.
Median equivalised income of pensioners in the bottom quintile increased by 36 per cent. between 1996-99 and 2004-07. Measures introduced by the Government since 1997 to help those on the lowest incomes include the introduction of the Minimum Income Guarantee and its successor Pension Credit and Winter Fuel Payments for those aged 60 and over. For 2009, we will raise the standard minimum guarantee to £130.00an above indexation increase of £5.95. We will be making an additional payment for winter 2008-09 of £50 for households with someone aged 60-79 and £100 for those with someone aged 80 or over. And in addition to this the Government will make a payment in the new year of £60 for each pensioner, equivalent to bringing forward uprating of the basic State Pension from April to January.
|Table 1: Median weekly pensioner incomes by equivalised income quintile across pensioners only, United Kingdom, 1996-99 and 2004-07 (2006-07 prices, after housing costs)|
|Bottom quintile||Second quintile||Middle quintile||Fourth quintile||Top quintile||Median income|
|Table 2: Median weekly pensioner incomes by equivalised income decile across pensioners only, United Kingdom, 1996-99 and 2004-07 (2006-07 prices, after housing costs)|
|Bottom decile||Second decile||Third decile||Fourth decile||Fifth decile|
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