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Pension Entitlement

Volume 403: debated on Monday 10 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he has taken to make available information on pension entitlements to British Citizens working in other EU countries. [101079]

There are several information products available from either DWP or Inland Revenue (IR) to British Citizens who leave the UK to work in another European Union (EU) country. These products provide appropriate information that can be either general in nature or specifically tailored to the individual.There are two comprehensive information leaflets available. The leaflet SA29, "Your Social Security Insurance, Benefits and Health Care Rights in the European Economic Area', explains specifically about social security, including State Pensions, within the EU. Leaflet NI38, "Social Security Abroad" explains about social security for people living abroad. Both leaflets are available on the internet, from local DWP offices or from the Pension Service and IR offices in Newcastle, which deal specifically with people living abroad.The websites of DWP, the Pension Service and IR give comprehensive information about their services. This includes information about working in another EU country and the impact on State Pension entitlement. These sites have links to each other and there is a hyperlink from the DWP website to the European Commission website for people wanting further information about the European Community Regulations on Social Security. In addition, the DWP is playing a major role in a new EU-funded project aimed at linking national social security administration websites (the COWEBS project). This project is specifically targeted at the information needs of migrant workers. It will compliment the web services already available; both by providing user friendly access to each country's website and, in the medium term, by making general information available on each site in the main European languages, in addition to the national language.IR provide, on written request or via the internet, a comprehensive State Pension forecasting service for people who have lived or worked abroad, which tells people about their future State Pension entitlement including the effect of the EC Regulations on Social Security. IR issue approximately 9,000 State Pension forecasts a year to people who have worked or lived in the EU.A State Pension claim pack is sent to people about four months before they reach State Pension age inviting them to claim their State Pension, including those who are recorded as living or who have lived or worked in the EU.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make it his policy to use the terms 'pension income' instead of 'annuity' and 'pension savings' for funds paid into a pension plan. [101331]

The terms 'annuity' and 'pension income' are not interchangeable. An annuity is a product that guarantees an income stream rather than being the income stream itself. Consequently, while an annuity can be a source of pension income, pension income need not be in the form of an annuity and it is important that this distinction is made clear. As far as the term 'pension savings' is concerned, the Government are generally in favour of terms like these, which are simple and understandable to individual savers and pension scheme members. The expression 'pension savings' is used in several places in the Green Paper, "Simplicity, Security and Choice: Working and Saving for Retirement" (Cm 5677), which contains proposals to make information available to individuals in the clearest possible way, to help them make decisions about working longer and saving more for retirement.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what research he has done to assess the likely impact of the end of the Inland Revenue qualifying regime on the ability of those on low incomes to save for their retirement. [101356]

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 6 February 2003, Official Report, column 397W, and confirm that the Government will consider the impact of the Sandler proposals on those on low incomes.