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Mr. Nicholas Brown: Estimates of the proportion of pensioners who are entitled to and claim the minimum income guarantee are published in Income Related Benefits Estimates of Take-Up. A copy of the latest publication covering financial year 19992000 is in the Library. Estimates of take-up of the minimum income guarantee are subject to greater uncertainty than other published take-up estimates; research is under way to improve the precision of estimates.
|Area||Number of MIG claimants (Thousand)||Percentage population aged 60 and over|
|North Norfolk parliamentary constituency||3,400|||
|North Norfolk LA||3,400||11.0|
|Area||Number of MIG beneficiaries (Thousand)||Percentage population aged 60 and over|
|North Norfolk parliamentary constituency||3,900|||
|North Norfolk LA||3,900||12.5|
20 Mar 2002 : Column 427W
Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many new entrants to the civil service employed in his Department were aged 50 years and over in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Nicholas Brown: People over 50-years-old on benefits can also take advantage of the help and support available through our New Deal 50 plus. By the end of January over 61,000 people had moved off benefits and into work nationally through New Deal 50 plus and 906 people have been helped into work in the Lanarkshire Employment Service district.
We have made a firm commitment to tackle the high levels of inactivity among people over 50 by increasing choice and opportunities for employment. We are doing this by setting the standard for non-ageist approaches to recruitment, training and development, promotion, redundancy and retirement through the Code of Practice on Age Diversity in Employment.
James Purnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the increase in the MIG per pensioner if money accrued through delaying the payment of pension-related benefits by increasing the retirement age to 67 years were put into funds for the minimum income guarantee. 
Maria Eagle: We have no plans to increase the state pension age to 67. It is not possible to estimate how such a change would affect the MIG in future as it depends upon the level of MIG at that time, on pensioner income growth (which itself is affected by the increase in retirement age) and on pension credit that is being introduced in October 2003.
20 Mar 2002 : Column 428W
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what information his Department collates on the value of occupational pensions available (a) in payment to current pensioners, (b) as assets for future pensioners and (c) in connection with the overall incomes of retired people. 
Mr. Nicholas Brown: The Department of Work and Pensions collects information on the value of occupational pensions available in payment to current pensioners and in connection with the overall income of retired people via the Family Resources Survey. The Family Resources Survey (FRS) is a continuous survey, interviewing approximately 25,000 private households in Great Britain each year. The FRS asks a wide range of questions about people's incomes and other living circumstances, including sources of pension income.
Information on assets of private pension funds, including occupational pensions, is published in the National Statistics MQ5 publication. The Office for National Statistics have stated that they expect to publish figures in April.
Maria Eagle: All our forms are constantly reviewed and regularly researched. We frequently adopt suggestions made by members of the public as well as organisations such as the Social Security Advisory Committee.
A radically changed minimum income guarantee (MIG) form was introduced last October after consultation with pensioners and their organisations. The new form cut the number of pages pensioners had to complete from 40 to 10 and removed questions irrelevant to the vast majority of pensioners. The Department also established a MIG helpline to enable pensioners to claim over the telephone.
Improvements have been made to our standard size claim forms, particularly those relating to disability benefits. They include using a larger type size, increasing the size of answer boxes and using a background tint that gives the best possible contrast to improve legibility.
We are also currently testing a new shorter and simpler attendance allowance claim form aimed at claimants aged 75 or over. If this 16 page form, which replaces the existing 34 page form, is successful in obtaining the information we need we will be looking to apply the lessons learned to other groups of disabled people applying for disability living allowance and attendance allowance.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what (a) proportion and (b) number of pensioners have income from earnings, broken down in both cases into five-year age bands. 
20 Mar 2002 : Column 429W
|Age||Proportion of pensioners with income from earnings (percentage)||Number of pensioners with income from earnings|
Family Resources Survey 200001.
Mr. Nicholas Brown: Asbestosis is a generic term for all asbestos-related diseases. The prescribed diseases (PDs) relating specifically to those suffering from the effects of exposure to asbestos are diffuse mesothelioma (PD3), primary carcinoma of the lung (PD8) where there is evidence of asbestosis and diffuse pleural thickening (PD9). In addition pneumoconiosis (PD1) can relate to asbestosis but also to silicosis (which is not an asbestos-related disease).
|Diffuse mesothelioma (PD3)||1,000|
|Primary carcinoma (PD8)||(30)200|
|Diffuse pleural thickening (PD9)||2,000|
(29) This figure also includes cases of silicosis which is not an asbestos-related disease. Separate figures for asbestos-related disease only in this category are not available.
(30) As this figure is less than 500 it should be treated as an indication of the number of cases only.
Figures are from a 10 per cent. sample of IIDB assessments in payment, and are rounded to the nearest 1,000.
20 Mar 2002 : Column 430W
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