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State Pension

Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans his Department has to review the state pension system. [42398]

Maria Eagle: We have consulted extensively on both the state and private pension systems since we launched our pensions review in 1997. Our proposals for reform were set out in the Green Paper Partnership in Pensions published in December 1998 and this was followed by further consultations on specific issues, including our proposals for the new pension credit.

Our pensions strategy is to combat poverty among today's pensioners, and to help future pensioners build up a good second pension to ensure a decent income in retirement.

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) male and (b) female UK residents experienced a reduction in basic state pension on reaching retirement age on account of insufficient contributions in each of the last five years. [42634]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 13 March 2002]: The information is not available in the format requested.

Recently retired pensioners receiving less than full basic pension in Great Britain—September 2001.

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Stakeholder Pensions

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Newark (Patrick Mercer) of 4 March 2000, Official Report, columns 22–23W, on stakeholder pensions, what plans he has to ensure the remaining 20 per cent. of employers who have not complied with the requirement to offer a stakeholder scheme, do so. [41694]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 8 March 2002]: 5,090 employers were recorded as designating a stakeholder scheme in January. The latest available figures show that up to the end of January 2002 a total of 316,811 employers had designated a stakeholder pension scheme for their workforces. This is over 85 per cent. of the number estimated to be obliged to do so.

The regulation of compliance with the stakeholder pension scheme workplace access requirement is a matter for the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (Opra).

Opra will take proactive action to identify non- compliant employers later in the year having given employers a reasonable time to become familiar with their new responsibilities.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people are in receipt of (a) disability living allowance, (b) attendance allowance and (c) incapacity benefit in (i) Gloucestershire and (ii) the Stroud constituency. [34421]

Maria Eagle: The information is in the table.

Numbers of disability living allowance, attendance allowance and incapacity benefit recipients at 31 May 2001.

Number of people in receipt of:Gloucestersh ireStroud Constituency
Disability living allowance14,5002,100
Attendance allowance12,8002,400
Incapacity benefit8,6001,400


Incapacity benefit figures do not include "credits only" cases where benefit is not in payment.


ASD information centre: 5 per cent. data. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred.

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many claimants for incapacity benefit appealed against the determination of their claim in each of the last three years for which figures are available; and what percentage of the appeals were successful (a) in whole and (b) in part. [40786]

Maria Eagle: It is not possible to split the number of appeals into those which are wholly or partially successful. The available information is in the table.

Caseload (000)Appeals lodgedCleared at hearingFound in favourPercentage found in favour
1 January 1999–31 December 199992,275.360,50568,13027,60540.5
1 January 2000–31 December 20002,286.251,32041,44516,74040.4
1 January 2001–30 November 20012,337.846,48531,90013,33041.8


Figures for 1 January 2001–30 November 2001 are provisional.

Figures were only available until 30 November 2001.

All figures are subject to changes as more up to date data becomes available.

Lodged and found in favour figures are rounded to the nearest five.

IB figures are taken from a 5 per cent. sample and exclude a small number of cases held clerically.

IB caseload figures are expressed as 1,000s are rounded to the nearest 100.


100 per cent. download of the Generic Appeals Processing System

Incapacity Benefit and Severe Disablement Allowance Quarterly Summary Statistics, August 2001.

18 Mar 2002 : Column 147W

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his answer of 8 January 2000, to my hon. Friend the Member for Hertsmere (Mr. Clappison), Official Report, column 681W, on the "Do Not Redirect" scheme, how many local authorities have implemented the Royal Mail "Do Not Redirect" scheme; and what the Government's definition is of unsatisfactory take-up. [35314]

Malcolm Wicks: 367 of the 409 local authorities administering housing benefit use the official "Do Not Redirect" scheme representing 90 per cent. of the total. Some other authorities have established similar schemes locally with Royal Mail. We are keen to see all authorities using "Do Not Redirect" and both the Department and the benefits fraud inspectorate will continue to encourage the remaining authorities to do so.

Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans the Government have to initiate reform of the housing benefit system, with particular reference to the single room payment. [33009]

Malcolm Wicks: We have a strategy for reforming housing benefit (HB) and dealing with the legacy of neglect we have inherited.

To help promote work incentives, we have broadened the definition of the single room rent from 2 July 2001 to reflect better the type of accommodation available in the market to young single people. Our aim is both to ease the problems faced by young people in getting and maintaining accommodation, and encourage landlords to rent to young adults.

Benefits Agency (Fraud and Error)

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much expenditure has been lost through fraud and error in each of the Benefits Agency's 13 area directorates and 118 districts that handle income support claims in each year since 1997. [42513]

Malcolm Wicks: The information requested is not available.

Invalid Care Allowance

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to review a person's loss of invalid care allowance when they become of pensionable age. [34425]

Maria Eagle: Invalid care allowance and retirement pension are both benefits intended to maintain income. Rules exist to prevent the duplicate payment of more than one benefit intended for the same basic purpose. Where a person already entitled to invalid care allowance reaches pension age and becomes entitled to retirement pension, the payment of retirement pension, a contributory benefit,

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takes precedence and either extinguishes or reduces the payment of invalid care allowance. Underlying entitlement to ICA is retained, which provides low income carers with access to the carer premium paid with the minimum income guarantee.

Invalid care allowance has always been subject to these rules. We have no plans at present to change this. However, in light of the National Carers Strategy, the Government have introduced a draft order proposing to remove the ICA age restriction, thus allowing carers aged 65 and over access to ICA and therefore the carer premium. The proposal will provide the opportunity for low income carers in this group to boost their income on top of the minimum income guarantee.

Benefits Offices (Security)

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent representations he has had on the issue of security at the new Jobcentre Plus offices. [42526]

Mr. Nicholas Brown [holding answer 12 March 2002]: Health and safety arrangements in the new offices have been the subject of over 60 hours of discussions between officials and the Public and Commercial Services Union. Members of the public and staff have also written to Ministers and officials in the Department to express their views.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which Benefits Agency offices have experienced the most incidents of violence in the UK in the last three years. [42533]

Mr. Nicholas Brown [holding answer 12 March 2002]: Data are not held centrally broken down by individual office and the information requested could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) deaths, (b) serious injuries and (c) recorded incidence of verbal abuse there have been in the Jobcentre Plus pilot projects. [42532]

Mr. Nicholas Brown [holding answer 12 March 2002]: There have been no deaths or serious injuries in the Jobcentre Plus pathfinder offices since their launch. Since the launch of the first Pathfinder offices in October 2001 there have been four incidents involving actual but minor physical contact, six incidents involving attempted physical contact, and 198 incidents of verbal abuse. During that period it is estimated that around a million people have visited the pathfinder offices.

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