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Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what initiatives his Department has in place to encourage (a) organisations, (b) companies and (c) the civil service to employ people who are aged 50 years and over. 
Mr. Nicholas Brown: Since 1997, this Government have consistently shown its commitment to employment opportunities for all regardless of age. For those over 50 there is a comprehensive range of back to work help including New Deal 50 plus. Government support has ensured that the employment rate for the over-50s has increased each year for the last four years. Through New Deal 50 plus alone, over 61,000 people so far have been helped back to work.
We are vigorously promoting the benefits of recruiting, training and retaining older workers as part of our Age Positive campaign. We have already spoken to employers, employer organisations, employees and voluntary sector organisations about ways in which the message can be spread further. The Age Positive campaign is going from
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strength to strength, working to challenge ageist employment practices between now and the implementation of age legislation in 2006. The newest feature of the campaign is the Age Positive website (www.agepositive.gov.uk). It features guidance and good practice case studies for employers including our recent publication 'Good Practice in the Recruitment and Retention of Older Workers' which is also available in the Library.
For small and medium sized employers, we have developed a model programme on the business benefits of age diversity and recruiting the over-50s. To date 20 workshops have been delivered across the country and we are looking to increase this in the coming months, extending to Scotland and Wales.
The Department's Diversity and Equality statement makes an explicit commitment to non-discrimination on age grounds. We do not discriminate against anyone on the basis of their age when recruiting or promoting staff. We have also been working closely with the Cabinet Office to promote this approach across the civil service and have done so since the introduction of the Code of Practice on Age Diversity in Employment, which we published in June 1999. The departmental retirement age for all staff below senior civil service was increased from 60 to 65 with effect from 1 April 2000. Staff have the choice to retire at any time between these ages.
Since its launch at the annual Pensions Show on 17 October 2001, the new service has received expressions of interest from 91 private or occupational pension providers who wish to take advantage of this new, voluntary service.
These providers are progressing through the various stages involved in introducing the service to their customers, including the formal registration process, obtaining the required customer consent to exchange personal information with the Department and developing their IT systems to share data electronically.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate what proportion of (a) occupational pensions defined by benefit, (b) occupational pensions defined by contribution and (c) personal pensions provided for survivor benefits or joint life annuities; and what proportion of such pensions provide for indexation of pensions. 
|Private sector||Public sector|
|Benefit payable||As of right under scheme rules||At trustees' discretion||As of right under scheme rules||At trustees' discretion||Total|
|Pension to surviving spouse||4,810||220||4,100||||9,130|
|Pension to surviving children||3,090||600||4,100||||7,790|
|Pension to a divorced ex-spouse||200||1,680||600||160||2,640|
|Pension to any nominated person||320||2,560||600||340||3,820|
|Total active members of defined benefit schemes||5,140||||4,100||||9,240|
1. Schemes may be included under more than one category in the above table.
2. The GAD survey did not include information on the number of defined contribution and personal pension in payment that provide for a survivor's pension as most of these schemes provide a lump sum on retirement with which the member buys a pension. It is then up to the member to choose whether or not the pension will provide for a survivor's pension. In a defined contribution scheme used to contract out of the state earnings related pension scheme (SERPS), that part of the pension deriving from the national insurance contribution rebate (the protected rights) must be used to purchase a pension providing for a survivor's pension where the member is married at the time the pension is purchased.
3. The same rules apply to personal pensions. It is entirely a matter for the member to decide whether or not the pension provides for survivor's benefits except where the personal pension has been used to contract out of (SERPS). In these circumstances, that part of the pension fund comprising the protected rights, must be used to purchase a pension providing for a survivor's pension where the member is married at the time that the pension is purchased.
4. All occupational pension schemes (both defined benefit and defined contribution) are subject to indexation. That part of the pension in payment that derives from pension rights built up from 6 April 1997 must be increased by the percentage increase in the retail price index, or 5 per cent, whichever is the lesser.
5. With personal pensions only that part of the pension deriving from the protected rights is subject to indexation. It is up to the scheme member to decide whether or not the pension deriving from the excess of these rights is to be indexed.
Table 10.9 of the GAD Survey of Occupational Pension Schemes 1995
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Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in each of the past 30 calendar years what was the (a) percentage ratio of current average earnings to the state basic retirement pension, (b) same percentage ratio to average state pension paid to individuals (excluding dependent spouses) and (c) same percentage ratio to mean income from state and occupational pension schemes. 
1. Average earnings figure not yet available for April 2001.
2. Figures for GB
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1. Average earnings figure not yet available for April 2001.
2. Information on average amount of Category A pension paid is not available prior to April 1995.
3. Taken from administrative data.
4. Figures are for GB.
1. The figures are based statistics published in the Pensioner Income Series 199900.
2. The definition of a pensioner unit is a single person over state pension age or a couple where the man is over state pension age.
3. Data for years prior to 19945 would only be possible using the Family Expenditure Survey but this analysis is not readily available.
4. Since parts (a) and (b) of this question are based on DWP administrative data on benefit receipt, part (c) is not directly comparable.
5. Figures are for GB.
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Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many employees in each of the last ten years were (a) participants in contracted-out funded pension schemes, (b) participants in contracted-in payments to the national insurance system and (c) outside either category. 
|Total number contracted-out||Total number belonging to SERPS(33)||Total number of workers not contracted-out or belonging to SERPS|
(33) These include employees who are members of contracted-in occupational pension schemes. In his publication titled "Occupational Pension Schemes-1995", the Government Actuary estimated that in 1995, there were 1.3 million members of such schemes.
"Second Tier Pension Provision 199596" and "Labour Force Survey"Department for Work and Pensions' Analytical Services Division
Mr. Nicholas Brown: Entitlement to Retirement Pension begins with the pay-day on or following the pensioner's 60 or 65 birthday. Changes in entitlement, for example a decrease because of a prolonged stay in hospital, also takes effect from the pay-day following the change in circumstances. The same rule applies with the termination of the award. The principle of paying Retirement Pension in whole weeks stems from the fact that the benefit is traditionally paid in advance.
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