To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what discussions he has had with other Governments in protecting final salary pension schemes; and if he plans to introduce a compulsory scheme of insurance for the protection of employees of insolvent firms; (2) what insurance schemes he plans to introduce to protect final salary pension schemes. 
The Department for Work and Pensions has carried out research into compensation schemes that protect final salary pension schemes in other countries including United States, Finland, Germany, and Japan.Departmental officials visited the US to explore their scheme (the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation) and reported their findings back to the Secretary of State. There has been ongoing correspondence between the Departments officials and their counterparts in the US. This is because the US pensions system, and their corporate structure more generally, is most similar to the UK position.As a result of research into schemes in other countries, discussions with US counterparts, and the strong support expressed by respondents for this option in the Pensions Green Paper "Simplicity, security and choice: Working and saving for retirement" (Cm 5677), we decided to introduce a compulsory compensation scheme for the protection of employees of insolvent firms.On June 11 2003 the Secretary of State announced our decision in the House, and we published an Action plan: "Simplicity, security and choice: Working and saving for retirement—Action on occupational pensions" (Cm 5835) setting out a package of measures to strengthen protection for pension scheme members and ease the burden on companies running schemes.We plan to establish a new independent organisation called the "Pensions Protection Fund" (PPF) in order to protect members of defined benefit pension schemes whose sponsoring employer has become insolvent. Where the pension scheme has insufficient assets to meet the PPF guarantee, the compensation scheme will pay the guaranteed level of benefits to scheme members as they fall due.
The PPF will be funded by a levy on all defined benefit pension schemes. The levy will contain both a flat rate and a risk-based component, based on an assessment of the degree of underfunding in the particular scheme. Those schemes that are most underfunded will therefore have to pay a higher rate.
Pensioners will be guaranteed to receive 100 per cent. of their pension, and non-pensioners will be guaranteed to receive 90 per cent. of the pension they have accrued.
A cap will be introduced for non-pensioners so that any incentive for Directors to force their company into bankruptcy in order to get their pension is minimised.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his response of 7 May 2003, Official Report, column 701W, (1) whether his Department has conducted research to assess the public understanding of declines in private pension income that normally occur with increased longevity; (2) whether his Department has conducted research to assess the public's attitudes towards
(a) how long they are likely to live on retirement and (b) how much income they are likely to have during their retirement. 
The Department has not carried out research to assess the public understanding of the relationship between private pension income and increased longevity.Regarding research on public attitudes, I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to him on 21 May 2003,
Official Report, columns 798–99W. That research on attitudes to pensions and financial planning for retirement examined how long people of working age expected to remain retired, their income, pension provision and sources of income in retirement, and what they considered to be an adequate retirement income. A report is due to be published in July and, in accordance with normal practice, a copy will be placed in the Library.
Additionally, a major cross-government study to which the Department contributes—the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing—is following a sample of people aged 50 and over for a number of years. The survey collects detailed information about income and assets and asks participants about the probability of their income keeping up with inflation. Over time this study will shed light on perceptions of changes in income as the population ages. A first report from the study is due in December 2003.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his response of 7 May 2003, Official Report, column 701W, what conclusions his Department has made about whether private pension income declines with longevity. 
On average, older pensioners receive less income from all sources than younger pensioners. This is illustrated in the following table. There are two main reasons for the difference in occupational pension income. First, the rapid rise in occupational pension coverage in the late 1950s and 1960s has been more beneficial for the younger of today's pensioners. Secondly, before retirement the value of occupational pensions is broadly linked with earnings growth over time. After retirement the value of pensions in payment is broadly linked to prices. Other things being equal, an older pensioner who has been retired for longer will, therefore, have a lower occupational pension than the equivalent younger pensioner.Information showing how incomes change over time at the individual or household level requires data on the same individuals over time. The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing is following a sample of people aged 50 and over for a number of years. The survey collects detailed information about income and assets and, in due course, will provide up-to-date information on how incomes from different sources, including, occupational and personal pensions, change overtime at the individual level. A report from the first wave of the study is due in December 2003 but information about changes over time will only be available after the second wave.
|Average income of pensioner units by source of income and age group|
|£ per week|
|Pensioner units where the head is under 75||Pensioner units where the head is 75 or over|
|Net income (before housing costs)||236||190|
1. All pensioner units are defined as: single (non-cohabiting people over the age of state pension age (65 and over for men, 60 and over for women) and couples (married or cohabiting) where the man is over the state pension age.
2. Income from occupational pensions does not include income from personal pensions; the latter is included under investment income
3. All incomes are shown as £ per week and at 2000–01 prices.
The Pensioners' Incomes Series 2000–01