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Stakeholder Pensions

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what size of stakeholder pension savings a woman currently of the age of 40 years will need under the current annuities system in order to buy in 2026, at the age of 65 years, an index-linked annuity to match the minimum income guarantee, assuming the MIG continues to be linked to earnings, earnings continue to grow at their current rate and current market annuity rates apply; [6364]

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Mr. McCartney: I will write to the hon. Member.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reason unisex annuities were not adopted in the regulations introducing stakeholder pensions. [6369]

Mr. McCartney: Current legislation already requires annuity providers to provide a unisex annuity in respect of any protected rights in occupational and personal pensions.

Pensioner Income

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make it his policy to ensure that support to pensioners is increased in line with GDP growth; and if he will make a statement. [6063]

Mr. McCartney: We want all pensioners to have a decent and secure income in retirement and to share fairly in the rising prosperity of the country. We are providing significant extra help for pensioners, including a £200 winter fuel payment and a minimum income guarantee of more than £92 a week for single pensioners. We have increased the basic state pension by £5 a week for single people and £8 a week for couples. In 2001–02 alone, we will be spending £4.4 billion more in real terms on help for pensioners than was spent in 1996–97.

Jobcentre Plus

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what measures he is taking to ensure that (a) Jobcentre Plus pathfinder offices and (b) all future Jobcentre Plus facilities are fully accessible for (i) wheelchair users, (ii) people with impaired mobility, (iii) people with a hearing impairment, (iv) people with a visual impairment and (v) people with learning disabilities. [6191]

Maria Eagle: All the future planning for Jobcentre Plus will be in compliance with Disability Discrimination Act requirements for accessibility.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what provision is being made in Jobcentre Plus offices for private interview facilities. [6195]

Maria Eagle: Private interview rooms are an integral part of the design of Jobcentre Plus and they will be provided in all the public caller offices within the pathfinder areas opening from October this year.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what standards and targets are being set, and with what advice, to ensure disabled people's access to all Jobcentre Plus facilities. [6193]

Maria Eagle: The Jobcentre Plus offices have been designed by consultants who are specialists in Disability Discrimination Act requirements. Within the limitations of the current building stock being converted, the standard

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is to achieve maximum accessibility for disabled people. We also plan to enable people to have greater access to our services by telephone.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what arrangements are being made to train staff at Jobcentre Plus in (a) disability awareness, (b) disability legislation and (c) support services available to disabled people. [6194]

Maria Eagle: The following training will be delivered to staff working in Jobcentre Plus work-focused interview extension sites. We have consulted with disability specialist organisations on the format and content of the training. The training will cover disability awareness, disability legislation and the support services available to sick and disabled customers. This training will build on existing training on equal opportunities, working with Diversity and the Disability Discrimination Act.

























Jobpoint Terminals

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if an assessment of jobpoint touch-screen computer terminals has been carried out in terms of their

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accessibility to visually impaired people; and if disability access was a consideration when the decision was made to purchase the system. [6192]

Maria Eagle: I can confirm that the jobpoint touch-screen terminals were designed and procured taking into account the requirements of people with disabilities, including those who are visually impaired. Human factors specialists, jobcentre staff and clients with disabilities were actively involved in the specification of requirements for the new system, in the evaluation of proposed designs and in the development and testing of the chosen solution.

The text on screen is displayed in a font colour, style and size with good contrast which conforms to RNIB guidelines on designing screens for visually impaired users. The flat screen technology used is easier to view and use than conventional glass screens, and provides a stable non- flickering, non-reflective image. This is the recommended solution for people with photo-sensitive epilepsy, as confirmed by the British Epilepsy Association. Accessibility by disabled people was also an important factor when developing the jobpoints. The selected design enabled comfortable access by wheelchair users as well as people standing or sitting down.

As the installation of jobpoints progresses we are continuing to review usage and public reaction to them, including their accessibility to people with disabilities. Future enhancements will take into account the developing needs of such users, including visually impaired people.

State Retirement Pension

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) men and (b) women are in receipt of the state retirement pension in the UK. [6304]

Mr. McCartney: At 30 September 2000, there were about 3.75 million men and approaching 6.5 million women in Great Britain receiving the state retirement pension. Figures for Northern Ireland are a matter for the Northern Ireland Assembly.



Departmental Contracts

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the top 10 companies to which his Department contracted out its construction and refurbishment work out in the last 12 months. [6422]

Mr. McCartney: The top 10 companies (selected in relation to the value of work) contracted by our private sector partners, Land Securities Trillium, to undertake construction and refurbishment work on the former Department of Social Security estate are, in alphabetical, order as follows:


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The companies contracted by the Employment Service, while an Executive Agency of the Department for Education and Employment, in alphabetical order are:




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