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Pensioners (Portsmouth)

Volume 403: debated on Monday 10 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent steps he has taken to improve the financial position of pensioners in Portsmouth; and if he will make a statement. [98347]

Over 5,300 people in Portsmouth benefit from the Minimum Income Guarantee—a policy we introduced—and receive an average £49.83 a week. 31,600 pensioners have benefited from the above inflation increases in the State Pension. Additionally 33,800 people received a Winter Fuel Payment of up to £200. Those Portsmouth pensioners eligible for Pension Credit stand to gain around 400 a year on average.The creation of The Pension Service provides an ideal opportunity to further encourage pensioners to take up their entitlements. Not only are our customers being encouraged to claim when they ring their pension centre but we also have a network of local service teams throughout the country actively encouraging take up.There is a local service team of 18 staff covering the area of Portsmouth, Havant and East Hants, meeting customers in the community and actively encouraging take-up. They are developing advice and drop-in surgeries in partnership with other local organisations. For example, in partnership with Portsmouth local authority, the team provide Pension Service advisors every Monday at the Somerstown and Landport Access Points, and in partnership with JobCentre Plus they attend Robuck House Cosham on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.