To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his estimate is of the number of (a) pensioners and (b) people on income support who will be helped by the Budget proposals regarding stays in hospital. 
The information is not available in the format requested.
Over 20,000 pensioners and around 3,000 income support recipients aged under 60 are affected at any one time by reductions in their benefits as a result of a stay in hospital of between six and 52 weeks. All of these people will therefore benefit from the recent announcement which will change the rules so that hospital deductions in respect of certain benefits are made after a stay of 52 weeks in hospital.
1. For pensioners, the estimate is based on September 2002 retirement pension administrative data. For people aged under 60, the estimate is based on the latest available income support data (November 2002).
2. The above estimates represent the number of people who will benefit at any given time from changes on hospital deductions. It is not possible to estimate reliably the total number of people who will benefit from the recent rule changes over the course of a year.