HC Deb 07 May 2003 vol 404 cc696-7W
Mr. Gardiner

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effect on incentives to contribute to private pension schemes of the fact that student maintenance loans are paid from gross income. [111068]

Maria Eagle

The Government recognise the value of saving for retirement in providing people with security, comfort in retirement and long-term independence and security. To address the problems that may have discouraged people of all ages from saving in the past the Government are implementing a strategy designed to create the right environment for saving; provide incentives to save through favourable tax treatment; and ensure everyone has access to the financial information they need to make informed savings decisions.

It also recognised that there will be times in many people's lives when they cannot afford both to contribute to a pension and meet their current needs, but it is important that people save when they can afford to do so. Student loans are repaid on an income contingent basis, which means that the amount repaid is affordable and does not prevent graduates from making other investments such as contributions to a pension scheme.

Mr. Gardiner

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if his Department will add projected life expectancy to the information available on government pension statements. [110406]

Malcolm Wicks

The pension forecast statements issued by the Department for Work and Pensions are to provide individuals with the information on state pensions to help them plan their incomes in retirement. The statements are personal to the individual and do not contain information on life expectancy of either the individual, or the general population.

Customer research conducted on the information contained in these statements has not highlighted the need to provide such information and there are currently no plans to do so.

Mr. Gardiner

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the promotional material for the pensions credit will make clear that products such as equity release affect any tax credits available. [111067]

Maria Eagle

A Guide to Pension Credit will be published in September. This publication will provide detailed information about the way income and capital is treated in the calculation and will make it clear that money raised from a loan on property or through equity release counts as capital.

Mr. Willetts

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many responses he has received to the Green Paper on Pensions; and if he will place copies of the responses in the Library. [110904]

Maria Eagle

There have been over 800 responses to the consultation on the Green Paper, Simplicity, Security and Choice: Working and saving for retirement (Cm 5677).

We are analysing responses and will respond to the consultation in due course. Copies of the responses will then be placed in the Library.

Vera Baird

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans to increase the payment due under the caring allowance entitlement of the State Second Pension. [110858]

Maria Eagle

There are no plans to increase the level of State Second Pension for those who qualify through caring responsibilities.