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Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 24 July 2007]: The permitted work upper earnings limit has been linked to the national minimum wage since it was introduced in 2002. It will be increased from £86 a week to £88.50 a week from 1 October this year to maintain this link.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effectiveness with which pension fund trustees are carrying out their functions in relation to divorcees under the new rules on pension sharing; and if he will make a statement. 
Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average weekly income of (a) a pensioner couple and (b) a single pensioner in (i) the UK, (ii) Yorkshire and Humber and (iii) City of York constituency was in (A) real and (B) cash terms in (1) 1997 and (2) the latest date for which figures are available. 
|Average gross weekly income by family type in real terms ( £ per week, 2005-06 prices)|
|Average gross weekly income by family type in cash terms (£ per week)|
1. Gross income is income from all sources received by the pensioner unit including income from social security benefits, earnings from employment, any private pension, and tax credits.
2. Based on survey data and as such subject to a degree of sampling and non sampling error.
3. Figures are based on the average of three years data as single year estimates do not provide a robust guide to year-on-year changes. Figures in real terms represent the average of the three individual years, each shown in 2005-06 prices. For this reason, cash figures (based on the cash figures for each year) do not equal the values in real terms for the period 2003-042005-06.
4. Data for the United Kingdom are not available for the period 1997-98 to 1999-2000.
5. Figures have been rounded to the nearest £.
6. Pensioner units are either pensioner couples or single pensioners.
7. Pensioner couples are couples where one or more of the adults are state pension age or over.
Pensioners Income Series 2005-06 (Revised)
Figures are rounded to the nearest 50,000.
Figures refer to women living in GB as UK data are not available.
The full rate of basic State Pension in August 2006 was £84.25 per week.
A full basic State Pension is paid to those who fully satisfy the contribution conditions either in their own right or where applicable, on the basis of their late or former spouse's contributions.
Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study. The data is available via the Tabulation Tool on the Departments website at:
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) whether the Financial Assistance Scheme asks qualifying pension schemes to provide information which could enable it to determine whether the employer in relation to the scheme took a contributory holiday at any stage; 
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of pensioners in the UK receive the minimum level of weekly income in retirement as defined by the Government. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The guarantee credit element of Pension Credit ensures people aged 60 or over have a minimum guaranteed weekly income of £119.05 for single people and £181.70 for couples. This is known as the standard minimum guarantee. There are £1.5 million beneficiaries of the standard minimum guarantee, which represents around 12 per cent. of the population aged 60 or over. This does not include people who are entitled to additional amounts within their Pension Credit for severe disabilities, caring responsibilities and housing costs.
Figures are derived from the DWP five per cent sample data, rated to match 100 per cent totals.
Beneficiary figures are as at November 2006.
GB population figures are as at mid 2005.
Beneficiary figures are rounded to the nearest 100 and include those receiving guarantee credit only and those on guarantee credit and savings credit.
DWP Information Directorate five per cent sample and 100 per cent Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study data; and ONS, Population Estimates Unit
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) children under 16 years old, (b) adults and (c) pensioners were living in severe poverty in each year since 1997. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of claims for (a) jobseekers allowance, (b) incapacity benefit and (c)
income support were made (i) over the telephone, (ii) using a paper form and (iii) in person in each of the last 10 years. 
The mental health component of the PCA has been thoroughly reviewed in order to ensure that it reflects the type of conditions prevalent today. In particular it now reflects the needs of people with learning disability, autistic spectrum disorder, and other conditions that are not mental illnesses but that have a significant impact on mental function. We anticipate that this will lead to assessments that are more equitable between groups with different impairments.
The new element of the PCA, the work-focused, health-related assessment, explores the person's perceptions and concerns about their condition, as well as identifying health-related support and interventions that will help the person to get back into work.
Throughout the review of the PCA, stakeholder groups representing disabled people have been fully consulted and involved; and focus groups containing a number of people with mental illness, learning disability, or autistic spectrum disorder have been consulted. The work-focused, health-related assessment has been piloted with customers claiming incapacity benefit.
Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost of unemployment benefits was (a) at current prices and (b) as a percentage of gross domestic product in each year since 1979. 
|Unemployment benefits paid in Great Britain since 1978-79 (£ million 2007-08 prices)|
|Unemployment benefit||Income support for the unemployed||Jobseekers allowance contribution-based||Jobseekers allowance income-based||Housing benefit/council tax benefit and predecessors||Total|
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