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24 Feb 2009 : Column 628W—continued

Custodial sentences

Between 1998-99 and 2007-08, 11 individuals received custodial or suspended sentences prison sentences relating to gas installation work. Only one was a registered gas installer.

New Deal for Musicians

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of claimants on the New Deal for Musicians Programme entered immediately into sustainable employment upon leaving the programme in each (a) region and (b) Jobcentre Plus district in each month since the programme's inception; and if he will make a statement. [241001]

Mr. McNulty: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 26 November 2008, Official Report, column 2003W.

Older Workers

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer of 5 November 2008, Official Report, column 502W, on the 65 plus work force, what percentage of the overall population the given figures represent. [257294]

Kevin Brennan: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Pension Credit

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many pensioner households received guaranteed credit in each year since 2005; [257098]

(2) how many pensioner households received pension credit in each year since 2005. [257097]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information is in the following table.

Number of households in receipt of pension credit
Type of pension credit

Total Guarantee credit only Both guarantee and savings credit Savings credit only

August 2005





August 2006





August 2007





August 2008





1. The number of households in receipt are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Household recipients are those people who claim pension credit either for themselves only or on behalf of a household.
DWP Information Directorate Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent data

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pension credit applications were not processed within 10 days of receipt in (a) each year since 2005 and (b) 2008-09 to date. [257100]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information requested is in the following table.

Pension credit clearance times

2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 January YTD ( 1) 2008-09


(2)AACT 10 Days

AACT 10 Days

AACT 15 Days

AACT 15 Days

Total processed





Not processed within Target





% not processed within target






8.8 Days

11.9 Days

15.6 Days

14.8 days

(1) YTD - Year To Date
(2 )AACT - Actual Average Clearance Time
Pension Service Legacy System

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Pension Schemes

Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps the Government have taken to ensure that under the new pension auto enrolment scheme due to start in 2012 each £1 invested by an individual saver, their employer and HM Revenue and Customs will net £1 of value (investment and inflation). [257442]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Our reforms contain a number of measures to boost the value of pension saving:

From 2012, employers will be required to automatically enrol their workers into a qualifying workplace pension arrangement and contribute to that arrangement. Employer contributions will be a minimum of percent on a band of earnings, and around 1 per cent. in the form of tax relief. Overall contributions, including the employee contribution, will be at least 8 per cent.

The new personal accounts scheme will be one of the pension schemes available to employers to meet the employer duty from 2012, and is designed to be low cost to minimise the impact of charges on the value of saving.

A more generous and simpler state pension to provide a solid foundation for saving. By 2050 just 30 per cent. of pensioner households are projected to be entitled to pension credit, compared to 45 per cent. today.

There are also measures to boost the value of saving within the existing pension and benefits system:

Pension rules allow up to 25 per cent. of a pension pot to be taken as a tax free lump sum.

In addition the ‘trivial commutation’ rules allow individuals with small pension funds to take the full amount as a lump sum (£16,500 in aggregate private pension saving in 2008-09, of which up to 25 per cent. may be tax free).

The savings credit was designed to reward those who have made small savings for their retirement.

Capital disregards in the benefit system mean that small amounts of capital do not affect benefit entitlement.

Some working age benefits and tax credits discount some or all of the value of pension contributions when calculating benefit entitlement.

Those people who see a lower impact on their net retirement income due to interactions with the benefit system will still get the full value of their private savings, and many will also be receiving generous top ups from the state to boost their total income, due to their needs in retirement. This could be due to circumstances such as needing extra support, for example due to disability.

The report of the Savings Incentive Work programme “Saving for retirement: Implications of pensions reforms on financial incentives to save for retirement showed” that, on standard assumptions, over 95 per cent. of savers modelled could expect to get more than £1 plus inflation back for each £1 contributed, and a large majority could expect double that. It also showed that for a range of case studies the reforms improve the payback on saving. The report also explored a number of measures proposed by stakeholders to further improve returns which suggested that the Government have struck a good balance between the competing objectives of
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affordability, incentivising saving and alleviating poverty—on balance the package does not need to be changed.


Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the weekly income, to the nearest whole pound, from the basic state pension and pension credit for a single person who began work in 2012 and who retired at 68 with a full history of national insurance contributions and had (a) no savings and (b) non-pensions savings of (i) £1,000, (ii) £2,000, (iii) £3,000, (iv) £4,000, (v) £5,000 and (vi) £10,000. [249442]

Ms Rosie Winterton: It is projected that a single person aged 25 in 2012, who earned median earnings throughout their working life would receive £159 basic state pension plus state second pension on reaching state pension age of 68 in 2055. They would not be entitled to pension credit. This figure is not affected by different non-pension savings scenarios, Figures are in 2008-09 earnings terms.

Poverty: North East

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many children were living in poverty in Middlesbrough, South and East Cleveland constituency in (a) January 2007, (b) January 2008 and (c) January 2009. [257532]

Kitty Ussher: Child poverty statistics, published in the Households Below Average Income series, only allow a breakdown of the overall number of children in relative poverty at Government Office region level or for inner or outer London. This means information for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland is not available.


Mr. Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to ensure that his Department has the capacity to provide effective and timely assistance and support to those made redundant. [252692]

Mr. McNulty: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the acting chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Mel Groves. I have asked him to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Mel Groves:

Vocational Training: Redundancy

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many employees have been offered early access under Jobcentre Plus's rapid response service to (a) work-based learning for adults, (b) programme centres and (c) rapid response service focused training (i) 12 weeks before the date of redundancy, (ii) between 12 weeks before the date of redundancy and the date of redundancy and (iii) between the date of redundancy and 12 weeks after that date. [241006]

Mr. McNulty: The information requested is not available.

Winter Fuel Payments

Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many households with more than (a) £100,000 and (b) £200,000 annual income were in receipt of a winter fuel payment in the most recent year for which figures are available. [255975]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Winter fuel payments were designed to give older people reassurance that they could turn up their heating in winter. Eligibility is not based on income. The winter fuel payment for 2008-09 is £250 for households with someone aged 60-79, and £400 for households with someone aged 80 and over.

24 Feb 2009 : Column 633W

Information based on the Department's Family Resources Survey, shows that in 2006-07, winter fuel payments were made to less than 50,000 households with net income before housing costs of more than £100,000 per annum. Higher up the income distribution, clearly, the number is less than that. 2006-07 is the latest year for which information is available.

50,000 households represents less than 0.5 per cent. of all households where at least one adult is aged 60 and over.

Net income before housing costs is gross income less income tax payments, national insurance contributions, contributions to occupational and private pension schemes, local taxes, maintenance and child support payments, and parental contributions to children living away from home.

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