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Pension Credit

Volume 403: debated on Monday 14 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners will be entitled to the pension credit. [108722]

Around half of pensioners will be entitled to Pension Credit when it is introduced in October.We estimate that by October 2003 around 1.8 million Minimum Income Guarantee claims will be automatically transferred to Pension Credit. Between October 2003 and October 2004 we expect to take on a further million additional successful applications for Pension Credit.

Pension Credit will for the first time reward, not penalise savings ensuring that those who have worked hard to save modest amounts will gain from having done so. Those eligible for Pension Credit stand to gain on average £400 a year. The capital limit will be abolished and most pensioners will see their award fixed for five years.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the impact of the pension credit on the poorest pensioners. [108688]

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the Member for Leigh on 17 March, Official Report, column 597W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what methods are used to ensure that pensioners eligible for the pension credits are able to receive them. [109131]

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, wrote to all MPs on 17 March 2003, outlining how the Department is planning to ensure Pension Credit take-on is completed successfully. To support the take-on of Pension Credit a marketing campaign has been developed for pensioners and those who support them such as family and friends.The core of the campaign involves contacting pensioner households by direct mail and inviting them to make their applications by telephone. In this way we can support and complete the application form for them. The Pension Service has now started to send the invitations, building up the numbers progressively and plans to complete this activity in June 2004. This systematic approach will be supported by regional and national advertising around the launch of Pension Credit in October when it becomes payable.By working with local partners The Pension Service will be able to help vulnerable pensioners or those who need to overcome barriers that might prevent them from applying.To ensure pensioners do not lose out, a 12 month backdating provision will exist until October 2004. This will allow applications to be backdated to October 2003 where entitlement exists.