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Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what are the projected additional annual costs at current prices for each of the next 35 years for (a) the annual uprating of the minimum income guarantee in line with average earnings, (b) the pension credit, (c) raising the level of the basic state pension to the level of the MIG for (i) all pensioners, (ii) all pensioners over 75 and (iii) all pensioners over 80 years and (d) the annual uprating of the state second pension in line with average earnings. 
Mr. McCartney: The information requested for the minimum income guarantee and the pension credit is set out in the paper "The Pension Credit: long-term projections" which has been placed in the Library today. Copies are also available in the Vote Office.
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|All||Over 75s||Over 80s|
The Government Actuary's Department
|State Second Pension|
1. The costs of increases in the basic state pension and state pension are net of income related benefit savings that would be generated by these increases.
2. The costs given for earnings uprating of state second pension assume that expenditure on SERPS (accruals up to 200102) would not be affected.
3. The costs of earnings uprating of the state second pension only begin to become significant by 2015 because S2P only begins accruing in 200203 and therefore the amount of S2P in payment will be negligible for some time after that.
4. The costs shown for state second pension in the table have been calculated based on the estimated costs of S2P which were shown in the report by the Government Actuary on the Financial Effects on the National Insurance Fund of the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Bill 1999 (Cm 4573). The costs shown are the increase in expenditure over and above the baseline projected S2P expenditure shown in this report.
5. It has been assumed that the basic state pension and state pension changes would not happen together. If they did, there would be an interaction because the Lower Earnings Limit is linked to the basic state pension. This means that the cost of S2P would be reduced if the basic state pension and, therefore, the LEL were raised.
6. Average earnings are assumed to grow in line with Treasury economic assumptions until the end of the Parliament and then 1.5 per cent. above inflation over time.
7. The pensioner population is assumed to grow according to GAD's central population growth estimates.
The Government Actuary's Department
Mr. McCartney: Estimates of take-up for the minimum income guarantee (MIG) by pensioners were published in "Income Related BenefitsEstimates of Take Up in 19992000", a copy of which is available in the Library.
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Mr. Hurst: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the value was of the state retirement pension as a percentage of the average weekly wage in (a) 1971, (b) 1978, (c) 1981, (d) 1988, (e) 1991, (f) 1998 and (g) 2001. 
Mr. McCartney: The objective of the basic state pension, since it was introduced in 1948, has always been to provide a foundation for income in retirement on which individuals could build their own second pension or other savings income. The Government are committed to retaining the basic state pension in this role as well as making it easier to build up second pensions, whether through private stakeholder pensions or the new state second pension (which will particularly help people on low pay or with broken work records such as carers or disabled). In addition, the Government are committed to tackling pensioner poverty directly with the minimum income guarantee and ensuring that thrift is rewarded through the pension credit.
(8) Not yet available
The percentage is based on the amount of a single person's pension
"The Abstract of Statistics for Social Security Benefits and Contributions and Indices of Prices and Earnings", 2000 edition published by the DSS, page 57.
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Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of people who no longer receive (a) one and (b) more than one means-tested benefit due to the introduction of the minimum wage; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: The information is not available in the format requested. The number of people affected by the introduction of the minimum wage will vary year on year as people move off benefit and into work. For 200102 we estimate that up to 50,000 people no longer receive one or more of income support, housing benefit or council tax benefit as a result of the introduction of the national minimum wage.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his answer of 23 October 2001, Official Report, column 179W, if he will list the consultation papers released by his Department during the summer recess. 
|Issue date||Consultation document|
|19 July 2001||Social Security Fraud Act 2001 Code of Practice on Obtaining Information|
|23 July 2001||Changes to Invalid Care Allowance|
|23 July 2001||Amending the Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979|
|1 August 2001||The Occupational Pension Schemes (Winding Up Notices and Reports etc.) Regulations 2001|
|3 August 2001||Housing and Council Tax Benefits Verification Framework: Splitting the Verification Framework into Modules|
|13 August 2001||The Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Disclosure of Information) Amendment Regulations 2001|
|13 August 2001||The Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Consultation Document) Amendment Regulations 2001|
|18 September 2001||The Minimum Funding requirementThe next stage of reform|
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the number of occasions on which (a) an interview, (b) a benefit claim and (c) a claim review has been delayed as a result of the current industrial action. 
Mr. Nicholas Brown: The contingency plans that have been put in place during the current dispute have meant that all new claims have been dealt with quickly with customers receiving appropriate payments.
Claim reviewsincluding fortnightly reviews for claimants of jobseeker's allowancehave in general continued to be carried out during the course of the industrial action, although in some locations these have been deferred to ensure the most vulnerable customers are dealt with as quickly as possible. No figures are available centrally on the number of such deferrals.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many days each (a) Employment Service office, (b) Benefits Agency office and (c) JobCentre Plus office has been closed as a result of the current industrial action. 
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