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Mr. McCartney: A copy of the UK National Strategy Report on pensions was placed in the Library on 19 September 2002. The Report is the UK's contribution to the exchange of information and best practice on pensions between Member States agreed by the European Council at Laeken in December 2001. It contains information on current pensions policy.
Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the European Commission proposal to amend Directive 96/82/EC on the control of major accident hazards involving dangerous substances. 
Mr. Nicholas Brown: The Seveso II Directive on the control of major accident hazards involving dangerous substances aims to prevent major accidents and limit their consequences for human health and the environment. Pressure to amend the Directive follows a number of recent accidents involving dangerous substances.
The House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee recommended that the UK's handling of two of the provisions within the European Commission proposal should be subject to a debate by European Standing Committee A. This was due to take place on 15 October, but has been postponed.
Mr. Andrew Smith: In line with normal practice for periodic review of non-departmental public bodies, I have asked that a review be conducted of the Social Security Advisory Committee which begins today. The review will look at the rationale for establishing the Committee, its past performance and its organisational structure. It will consider the role of the organisation in the future and may make recommendations for change.
I have appointed Professor Hazel Genn to act as independent reviewer. We will be taking views from interested parties through a consultation exercise. I am sure the review will produce interesting and helpful results.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) if he will estimate the value of the basic state retirement pension if the retirement age were raised to (a) 70 years and (b) 75 years of age and if the pension tax credit were abolished in its first full year of implementation and the savings used to increase the basic state retirement pension; 
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(3) if he will estimate the saving in expenditure on the basic state retirement pension in 200203 if the retirement age were raised to (a) 70 and (b) 75 years of age. 
Mr. McCartney [holding answer 24 July 2002]: Currently, State Pension Age is 60 for women and 65 for men, but this will be equalised at age 65 from 2020 with gradual introduction from 2010. It will not be possible to raise the State Pension Age further until 2020. Assuming the same phasing in period (ie ten years to raise the SPA by five years) then at 2030, if the State Pension Age was raised to 70, the Basic State Pension could be around #120 in today's prices. Similarly, if, by April 2040 the State Pension Age was 75, the Basic State Pension could be around #190 in today's prices.
The Government Actuary's Department estimate that if the state pension age were raised gradually from 65 in 2020 to 70 in 2030 around 1.9 million people who are alive today would reach age 65 in the future but would not be expected to reach the relevant revised state pension age.
If the state pension age were raised from 65 in 2020 to 70 in 2030 and to 75 in 2040 around 4.4 million people who are alive today would reach age 65 in the future but would not be expected to reach the relevant revised state pension age.
These figures assume that a change in the state pension age is fully phased in by 203040 and that all savings from not paying State Pension prior to these ages, including money allocated to the Pension Credit, are used to pay the Basic State Pension. In addition, these figures ignore the effects on other benefits.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many stakeholder pensions have now been taken out; and what their distribution is by convenient income bands of (a) the participant, (b) their spouse and (c) their parents. 
Mr. McCartney [holding answer on 15 October 2002]: Figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) show that up to the end of June 2002 1,011,934 stakeholder pension policies had been sold. A breakdown of distribution by income bands is not available. However figures published by the ABI in March 2002 show that in cases where earnings of policyholders are known to providers, then the majority of them (60 per cent.) have earnings of between #10,000 and #30,000 a year. Official figures from the Inland Revenue showing the earning bands of policyholders in the 20012002 tax year are expected to be available by the end of the current tax year.
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Official Report, column 96W, on disability living allowance, how many applicants whose initial claim for disability living allowance was rejected in Portsmouth, South appealed against the rejection in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many applicants for disability living allowance were (a) granted, (b) unsuccessful, (c) granted on appeal and (d) granted on review in the Portsmouth, South constituency in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what steps he is taking to implement the recommendations of the Regional Implementation Strategy for the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing 2002, adopted by EU ministers on 13 September; 
Mr. McCartney: The Regional Implementation Strategy for the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing 2002 was adopted by UNECE Ministers on 13 September. The Government believes that existing policies for older people will provide the basis for progress towards the ten priorities of the Regional Strategy.
The Strategy aims to support member states' response to the challenges and opportunities of population ageing, in order to achieve a society for all ages. It does not set mandatory requirements, nor does it require member states to produce action plans to take forward the recommendations. UNECE member states will determine follow up arrangements in line with decisions made by the Commission for Social Development of the UN.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his answer on 17 June 2002, Official Report, column 97W, on the New Deal 50-plus programme, how far his Department has extended its use of the New Deal 50-plus programme to support its staff recruitment; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Nicholas Brown: In July 2002 the New Deal 50-plus programme was extended across the whole of the Department for Work and Pensions. Guidance was issued to encourage managers to employ participants from across the New Deal programmes including New Deal 50-plus.
Participants on New Deal 50-plus will receive training and support to help them compete effectively at Fair & Open competition to become a permanent employee. It is therefore hoped that many of our New Deal
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employees (including those from the 50-plus category) will secure permanent employment with the Department.
By next summer we aim to recruit sufficient people across all our New Deal programmes to reflect the Department's proportionate share in the labour market. Data will be available on our progress towards this later this year.
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