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Written Question
Housing: Older People
Thursday 30th June 2022

Asked by: Baroness Altmann (Conservative - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made on the formation of the cross-departmental taskforce on older people’s housing, as outlined in the Levelling Up the United Kingdom white paper, published on 2 February.

Answered by Lord Greenhalgh - Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

This Government is committed to further improving the diversity of housing options available to older people and boosting the supply of specialist elderly accommodation.

The Older People's Housing taskforce will look at ways we can provide greater choice, quality and security of housing for older people, and support the growth of a thriving older people's housing sector in this country. This work will be taken forward in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care. Further details about the taskforce including panel membership and scope will be confirmed in due course.


Written Question
Pension Wise: Standards
Tuesday 7th June 2022

Asked by: Baroness Altmann (Conservative - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what were the customer satisfaction ratings for the PensionWise service for each year since the service began; and what are the figures for the past four quarters.

Answered by Baroness Stedman-Scott - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The below data on customer satisfaction is collected post-appointment.

Year

Customer Satisfaction

2016/17

94%

2017/18

92%

2018/19

93%

2019/20

94%

Prior to the formation of the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) in 2019, satisfaction data was taken from the Pension Wise annual service evaluation and was not published quarterly. During this time The Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service, and Pension Wise had in place their own Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), along with different approaches to measuring performance. MaPS wanted to have a single programme measuring performance of their three service areas in a more consistent and joined up way. During 2020/21, there was no Pension Wise evaluation because MaPS were setting in place a new evaluation programme to achieve this.

Satisfaction data from 2021/22 is published quarterly by financial year on the MoneyHelper pensions take up dashboard. Pension Wise satisfaction scores for telephone appointments are provided quarterly by calendar year below – Q4 data is not yet available.

Quarter

Customer Satisfaction

2021/22 Q1

93.2%

2021/22 Q2

93.9%

2021/22 Q3

93.5%


Written Question
Pension Wise: Telephone Services
Tuesday 7th June 2022

Asked by: Baroness Altmann (Conservative - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people had appointments with the PensionWise helpline in each calendar quarter in (1) 2018, (2) 2019, (3) 2020, (4) 2021, and (5) 2022.

Answered by Baroness Stedman-Scott - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The information requested is available on the MoneyHelper pension take up data dashboard, where it is published quarterly by financial year. It is provided quarterly by calendar year below:

Calendar Year

QUARTER

Telephone Appts Attended

Face to Face Appts Attended

TOTAL

2018

Q2*

6,087

15,717

21,804

2018

Q3

7,035

17,085

24,120

2018

Q4

7,955

17,791

25,746

2019

Q1

9,432

20,641

30,073

2019

Q2

11,344

21,038

32,382

2019

Q3

13,051

21,363

34,414

2019

Q4

12,385

17,437

29,822

2020

Q1

13,477

21,581

35,058

2020

Q2

23,821

0

23,821

2020

Q3

27,363

0

27,363

2020

Q4

27,058

1

27,059

2021

Q1

34,783

1

34,784

2021

Q2

32,727

0

32,727

2021

Q3

29,061

0

29,061

2021

Q4

21,270

0

21,270

2022

Q1

31,620

0

31,620

*Q1 data from 2018 is not available


Written Question
Pensions
Tuesday 7th June 2022

Asked by: Baroness Altmann (Conservative - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what data is (1) collected, and (2) published, relating to trust-based pension (a) Defined Contribution schemes, or (b) MasterTrust schemes, in any year since 2015, to show how many people have accessed their pension funds; and whether they purchased an (i) annuity, (ii) income drawdown, (iii) uncrystallised pension fund lump sum, or (iv) withdrew funds in full.

Answered by Baroness Stedman-Scott - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) publish data on their website, based on what is reported to them, on the number of flexible payments made from pensions, the number of individuals who have received these flexible payments and the total value of all flexible payments. As this includes all flexible pension payments, the data represents a proportion of payments made from trust-based Defined Contribution (DC) schemes as well as contract-based schemes. As of December 2021, 1.9 million individuals have taken 16.0 million flexible payments from their DC pensions since the introduction of Pension Freedoms in 2015.

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) publishes data on their website from trust-based DC schemes on an annual basis. This publication provides a high-level snapshot of the current landscape of occupational DC trust-based pension provision in the UK, including information on the number, memberships, and assets of schemes. The most recent publication is TPR’s 12th edition, DC Trust: scheme return data 2021 to 2022, which includes data captured since 2015.

Included in this, they report the number of members for whom each scheme is directly providing (self-annuitisation) or facilitating (lifetime annuities) annuity payments. At the end of 2021, there were 1,000 memberships receiving lifetime annuities, excluding hybrid schemes (which have a mixture of guarantees and investments), and less than 1000 memberships receiving self-annuitisations, also excluding hybrid schemes. Number of memberships, or number of pension pots, does not equate to number of individuals, as many people are members of more than one pension scheme.

The data in this publication from TPR does not capture all pensioner members, as some members will have retired but transferred out of their scheme.

Members who transfer out of a trust-based DC scheme and access their pension savings via a contract-based provider will be included in the data collected by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and published in their Retirement Income Market Data. However, data is not currently collected on volumes of members that transfer out of trust-based DC schemes with the intention of accessing their savings. The FCA data shows that from October 2015- March 2021, over 3.3 million DC pots have been accessed in the contract-based market. This data is presented in Table 1 and can be found on the FCA webpage: Retirement income market data 2020/21. This data is also provided broken down by year in Annex A.

Table 1: Volumes and proportion of retirement income products, October 2015- March 2021 (FCA Retirement Income Data)

Product

Total volume

Proportion of all pots accessed

Annuities purchased in period

390,697

12%

New drawdown policies entered and not fully withdrawn in period

993,033

30%

Pots where first partial UFPLS payment taken and not fully withdrawn in period

130,247

4%

Full cash withdrawals from pots being accessed for first time in period

1,831,982

55%

Total pots accessed for the first time

3,345,960

100%

*Volumes prior to April 2018 were drawn from a representative sample of firms. The FCA started collecting data from all regulated firms providing retirement income products from 1 April 2018.


Written Question
Pension Wise: Telephone Services
Tuesday 7th June 2022

Asked by: Baroness Altmann (Conservative - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people (1) have booked, or (2) had appointments, in each calendar quarter of (a) 2021, and (b) 2022, with (i) the MoneyHelper Pension helpline, (ii) the PensionWise/MoneyHelper Pensions on divorce helpline, (iii) the PensionWise/MoneyHelper Pension safeguarding helpline, and (iv) the PensionWise/MoneyHelper mid-life pension helpline.

Answered by Baroness Stedman-Scott - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The information requested is available on the MoneyHelper pension take up data dashboard, where it is published quarterly by financial year. It is provided quarterly by calendar year below:

2021

MoneyHelper Pensions Helpline*

MoneyHelper Pensions Virtual appointments**

Pension Wise appointments attended

Pension Wise appointments arranged

Q1

71,522

125

34,784

45,376

Q2

56,089

93

32,727

45,221

Q3

39,166

113

29,061

38,344

Q4

36,465

107

21,270

27,620

2021 Total

203,242

438

117,842

156,561

*The Pensions Helpline is a general pensions guidance service that anyone can contact with any pensions query – this service does not require appointments booked and is delivered across multiple channels. As such, this data includes the following:

  • Helpline calls
  • Webchat
  • Online enquiries
  • Attendance at outreach events

**MoneyHelper Pensions virtual appointments cover Divorce appointments, Mid-Life Pensions Review appointments for the self-employed, and Pension Loss appointments. Data on Pensions Safeguarding appointments has not yet been published.

2022

MoneyHelper Pension helpline*

MoneyHelper Pensions Virtual appointments**

Pension Wise appointments attended

Pension Wise appointments arranged

Q1

52,779

93

31,620

41,624

*The Pensions Helpline is a general pensions guidance service that anyone can contact with any pensions query – this service does not require appointments booked and is delivered across multiple channels. As such, this data includes the following:

  • Helpline calls
  • Webchat
  • Online enquiries
  • Attendance at outreach events

**MoneyHelper Pensions virtual appointments cover Divorce appointments, Mid-Life Pensions Review appointments for the self-employed, and Pension Loss appointments. Data on Pensions Safeguarding appointments has not yet been published.


Written Question
Pensions
Monday 6th June 2022

Asked by: Baroness Altmann (Conservative - Life peer)

Question to the HM Treasury:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Financial Conduct Authority has (1) collected, and (2) published, data in any of the years since 2015 showing how many members of contract-based pension schemes have fully withdrawn their pension fund, paying more than 20 per cent in tax; and if so, how many of these had no other pension provision.

Answered by Baroness Penn - Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

This issue is a matter for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), who are operationally independent from the Government.

These questions have therefore been passed to the FCA who will respond by letter. Copies of the letter will be placed in the Library of the House.


Written Question
National Insurance Contributions: Earnings Limits
Tuesday 5th April 2022

Asked by: Baroness Altmann (Conservative - Life peer)

Question to the HM Treasury:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what the lower earnings limit for National Insurance will be set at for the years 2022–23; and whether any changes are proposed from July 2022.

Answered by Baroness Penn - Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

As set out in The Social Security (Contributions) (Rates, Limits and Thresholds Amendments and National Insurance Funds Payments) Regulations 2022, the Lower Earnings Limit will be £123 per week in 2022-23. The threshold is not impacted by changes announced at Spring Statement 2022, so will remain at this level throughout the 2022-23 tax year.
Written Question
Pensioners: Fuel Poverty
Tuesday 25th January 2022

Asked by: Baroness Altmann (Conservative - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what new measures they have put in place, or plan to introduce, to ensure elderly pensioners who are facing sharply rising fuel bills are able to afford to keep their homes sufficiently warm this winter.

Answered by Baroness Stedman-Scott - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Act 2021 introduced a double lock and allowed the Government to increase pensions by the higher of inflation or 2.5 per cent. From April 2022 state pensions will be increased by 3.1 per cent and this represents an additional £4bn spend on pensioner benefits in 2022/23. It should also be remembered that last year when earnings were negative this would have resulted in pensions being frozen, despite CPI being 0.5 per cent pensioners in receipt of state pension saw an increase of 2.5 per cent.

Pension Credit also provides invaluable financial support for vulnerable pensioners. Around 1.4 million eligible pensioners across Great Britain receive some £5bn in Pension Credit, which tops up their retirement income and is a passport to other financial help such as support with housing costs, council tax, heating bills and a free TV licence for those over 75.

Local Authorities in England have discretion to design their own bespoke local schemes within the overall parameters of the Household Support Fund, with support primarily focused on food, energy & water bills and wider essentials. Up to 50 per cent of the Fund is available for councils to spend on households without children, including those of State Pension age.

Other support for pensioners includes Winter Fuel Payments which continue to be payable to customers of State Pension age. We pay £200 to households with a customer aged between 66 and 79 and £300 to a household with someone aged 80 or over. We pay over 11 million winter fuel payments annually at a cost of £2bn which is a significant contribution to winter fuel bills.

Cold Weather Payments are also available and help vulnerable people in receipt of certain income-related benefits to meet additional heating costs, during periods of unseasonably cold weather between 1 November and 31 March. This includes older people in receipt of Pension Credit.

The Warm Home Discount Scheme provides those in receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit a discount of £140 on their energy bill providing their supplier is part of the scheme. There are now 200 thousand fewer pensioners in absolute poverty (both before and after housing costs) than in 2009/10.

There are now 200 thousand fewer pensioners in absolute poverty (both before and after housing costs) than in 2009/10.


Written Question
State Retirement Pensions
Tuesday 25th January 2022

Asked by: Baroness Altmann (Conservative - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to address the issue of new state pension claimants waiting weeks or months for their pension payments to start; and whether everyone reaching state pension age is now being paid their state pension on time.

Answered by Baroness Stedman-Scott - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

We have deployed significant additional resource into the processing of new State Pension claims, the payment of which was particularly affected by the impact of the pandemic.

As a result, all claims received by DWP for UK State Pension should be paid on time, other than for those customers where further information is required, or evidence is awaited. State Pension is paid in arrears and, in most instances, the first payment will be due four weeks after the customer’s 66th Birthday.


Written Question
State Retirement Pensions: Females
Tuesday 25th January 2022

Asked by: Baroness Altmann (Conservative - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many women who were receiving less state pension than they were entitled to have (1) had their payments corrected, and (2) received back payments.

Answered by Baroness Stedman-Scott - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

I refer you to the information published on gov.uk on 22 October 2021. Please see attached document.