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Contributory Pension Schemes

Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people are (a) active members, (b) deferred members and (c) retired members of employers' contributory pension schemes. [46922]

Mr. McCartney: Information is not available on the number of deferred or retired members of employer contributory schemes (that is, a scheme where there is an employee contribution—"contributory scheme"). Information from the Government Actuary's survey of Occupational Pension Schemes (1995) shows 8.9 million active members in contributory schemes. In addition, it is estimated that there are 1.6 million active members of Group Personal Pension schemes (where the employee makes a contribution) and 1.5 million where the employer makes a contribution in addition to the employee.

Information is available on the membership profile of occupational pension schemes (both contributory and non-contributory):

Occupational pension membership 1999–2000

Members Million
Active 10.5
Retired 6.2
Deferred 7.3


1. The information on active members and retired members (ie those in receipt of an occupational pension) is drawn from the Family Resources Survey 1999–2000.

2. The number of deferred members is estimated from the difference between active/retired members and total scheme membership. This estimate is subject to a degree of error due to the differing data sources used.


Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the policy of his Department is regarding recruitment and employment of people over 55; [48703]

Mr. McCartney [holding answer 15 April 2002]: The Department for Work and Pensions is committed to achieving equality of opportunity and diversity. All applicants and employees are treated fairly to enable them to develop and fulfil their potential, valuing the contribution each person can make to the organisation. Vacancies other than those for positions in the Senior Civil Service are open to everyone up to the age of 65 and a person's age is not taken into account at any stage of the selection process.

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At present the normal retirement age for staff in the Senior Civil Service is set by the Cabinet Office at 60, although there is the option to retain members beyond the age of 60 if it is judged to be in the public interest and the Department is satisfied about the fitness and efficiency of the individual to carry out his or her duties.

We are committed to ending age discriminatory practices and Government Ministers, through the Cabinet Office, are actively working towards removing the current barriers for members of the Senior Civil Service.


Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the cost in 2002–03 of increasing the weekly basic state retirement pension for couples by (a) £8 for those where the head is aged up to 74 years, (b) £18 for those where the head is aged between 75 and 79 years and (c) £28 for those where the head is aged 80 years and over. [50882]

Mr. McCartney: The information is not available.


Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many complaints were registered against his Department and its predecessor Departments in (a) 1990 to 1996 and (b) 1997 to 2002; how many are current; and what proportion were (i) taken up and (ii) upheld by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration in those periods. [51219]

Mr. McCartney [holding answer 19 April 2002]: The information requested is not available.

Justices of the Peace

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many members of staff at his Department are justices of the peace; and if he has a strategy for his Department to encourage members of staff to become justices of the peace. [44554]

Mr. McCartney: Information on the members of staff who are justices of the peace is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Section 50 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) requires employers to allow their staff reasonable time off for public duties. The civil service code (para 9.2.5) requires Departments and agencies to allow time off for attending these duties. Responsibility for the decision- making, in relation to attendance, for such activities has been delegated to local managers within the Department.

Departmental Groups

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what (a) reviews, (b) task forces and (c) advisory groups have been established by his Department since May 1997; what their membership is; and what reports they (i) have published and (ii) are preparing to publish. [28580]

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Mr. McCartney: Departmental Ministers and officials consider many policy questions and issues on a routine and on-going basis and frequently seek the views of people external to the Department on a more or less

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formal basis. The following table shows the task forces, ad hoc advisory and policy review groups with external members, which have been established since May 1997:

Total number of members
Task forces, ad hoc advisory and policy review groups Date Established Date reported/due to report Date wound up Ministers Civil Servants Wider public servants Voluntary/ CharityOther in Private Sector Total
Pension provision groupSeptember 1997'We all need pensions—The Prospectus for Pension Provision' June 1998. 'Responses to the Pensions Green Paper' March 1999 'A Commentary on the Pension Credit' March 2001.Proposed March 2002001067
Pension sharing consultation panel November 1997No reports.Proposed March 200200121417
Ad hoc group of external stakeholders: Decision Making and AppealsFebruary 1998No formal reports produced.April 20010408012
Activities of managing life working groupJuly 1998No reports have been published. Minutes of meetings are produced.0607013
Housing benefit simplification and improvement projectSeptember 1998No reports published.Mid 199901820020
Modern service working groupDecember 1998No plans to produce a report.0507012
Statutory money purchase illustrations working partyApril 1999'Illustrations of Money Purchase Pensions' September 2000. Consultation paper summer 2001Proposed March 2002021036
Member-nominated trustee working groupJune 1999Proposals in 'Member-Nominated Trustees and Directors: Consultation document' published October 1999.Proposed March 2002020079
Stakeholder pensions core groupJuly 1999No formal reports.December 200004101924
Pension forecasting advisory groupJuly 1999'Planning Your Future' published July 2000.March 200101000818
Best practice guidelines working practiceJuly 1999No formal report.November 20000410712
Dual sensory impairment groupSeptember 1999No formal report.November 2000040408
Benefits agency standards committeeNovember 1999First annual report published September 2000.Proposed March 2002023139
Older people—media images working group August 2000No report planned.March 20010706114
Partnership against povertyMarch 2001No report as such, provides feedback to department after each meeting.06510021
Jobcentre plus employers forumMay 2001No formal report planned.0220812
Jobcentre plus stakeholders forumMay 2001No formal report planned.04218024
The private pensions simplification (pickering) reviewSeptember 2001Report due July 2002.2500512
The minimum funding requirement consultant panelSeptember 2001No formal report planned.08011221
Scottish partnership against povertyNovember 2001No formal report planned.01107624

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Ministerial approval
Secretary of State approval
PSL approval

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