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Pensions Consultation

Volume 401: debated on Thursday 20 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when and where the West Midland Regional DWP consultation meeting scheduled for 3 April will take place; who may attend; and if he will make a statement. [104058]

The Government are conducting the largest consultation ever mounted on pensions issues. To ensure the widest possible range of views are sought they have established a partnership with Age Concern and the Co-operative Insurance Society to consult on the proposals in the Pensions Green Paper, "Simplicity, security and choice: Working and saving for retirement", Cm 5677. The aim of this tier of consultation is to reach individuals, groups and organisations that may not ordinarily have the opportunity to air their views direct to Ministers. A series of consultation events will take place, one in each of the Government Office Regions in England, one in Wales and one in Scotland.

Arrangements for the whole series of meetings have yet to be finalised. However the event for the West Midlands GOR will be held on 3 April at the Copthorne Merry Hotel in Dudley. Attendance is by invitation only.

Age Concern and CIS will identify and issue invitations to people in the following groups. Some invitations for the West Midlands event have already been issued.

  • Local business interests and representative groups
  • Local trade union representatives
  • Representatives of local ethnic minority groups
  • Representatives of LA and voluntary welfare rights and advice organisations
  • Local CAB
  • Local Help the Aged
  • Representatives of local older peoples' representative organisations

Share of expenditure on type of benefit shown, Great Britain, financial years

Percentage of total


Disability benefits

Unemployment benefits

Child benefits Excluding IRB* child elements

Including IRB* child elements

Housing benefits


* IRBs: Income-related benefits—income support, income based jobseeker's allowance family credit and disability working allowance. Notes and definitions:

(a) "Pensions" includes retirement pension, minimum income guarantee and its predecessors, winter fuel payments and over 75 TV licences. Expenditure on over 75 TV licences includes Northern Ireland.

(b) Disability-related benefits include disability living allowance, attendance allowance, mobility allowance, invalid care allowance, independent living funds and vaccine damage payments.

(c) Unemployment benefits include jobseeker's allowance, unemployment benefit, and income support/supplementary benefit for the unemployed.

(d) Child benefits include child benefit (including lone parent addition), one parent benefit, guardian's allowance and child's special allowance, plus child-related elements of income support, jobseeker's allowance, family credit and disability working allowance in the second of the two columns.

(e) Housing-related benefits include housing benefit, council tax benefit, community charge benefit and rate rebate, including those elements of expenditure financed within local authorities' housing revenue accounts and general funds.

Figures are rounded to the nearest whole per cent.


Departmental accounts and estimated out-turn underlying the pre-Budget 2002 forecasts.

  • Local financial advisers
  • Mothers' Union
  • Representation from local government Credit unions
  • One parent families
  • Gay/lesbian rights groups
  • Monetary Advice Trust—Scotland
  • Regional representatives from the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF)
  • Regional Co-op Societies
  • Regional CBI offices
  • Other organisations with the Departments prior agreement

A small number of people/organisations will be invited by the local Pension Service.