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Pension Credit

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 22 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much expenditure on the pension credit is expected to be paid to people who are aged (a) 60 to 64, (b) 65 to 69, (c) 70 to 74, (d) 75 to 79 and (e) 80 and over. [114552]

The information requested is in the table.

Table 1: Estimated pension credit expenditure by age in 2004–05, in cash terms
£ millions
Age of head of householdEstimated expenditure
60–641,500
65–69900
70–74900
75–79900
80 +1,800
Total6,000

Notes:

1. Expenditure is estimated for 2004–05, the first full financial year of pension credit after its introduction.

2. he forecast of expenditure by age is calculated separately for: (a) Underlying MIG expenditure. This is forecast on the basis of information from the Department's administrative data, and (b) Additional expenditure resulting from the introduction of pension credit. This is forecast based on the distribution of money among those eligible to pension credit, estimated in the Department's Policy Simulation Model. Figures should be treated as an approximation and may vary according to actual take-up.

3. Figures are rounded to the nearest £100 million.

4. Figures are consistent with the Budget 2003 forecasts available on the DWP Internet site and contained in the Departmental Report 2003, Cm 5921.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pension credit claimants are expected to be aged (a) 60 to 64, (b) 65 to 69, (c) 70 to 74, (d) 75 to 79 and (e) 80 and over; and what proportion this is of people in each age group. [114553]

The information requested is not available. Information as is available is in the table.

Number and proportion of potential Pension Credit claimants estimated for 2003–04

Age bands

Number of households entitled to pension credit (million)

Proportion for each age group (percentage)

60–640.4525
65–690.6034
70–740.7042
75–790.7551
80+1.1064

Notes:

1. The estimates in Table 1 are based on potential claimants eligible to Pension Credit rather than actual claimants.

2. Column 3 relates to the proportion of households eligible to Pension Credit out of the total number of pensioner households for that age group.

3. The estimates were calculated for all pensioners using the department's Policy Simulation Model based on the Family Resource Survey data for 2000–01 projected forward to 2003–04. This shows around 3.6 million households entitled to pension credit.

4. The Policy Simulation Model excludes all pensioners in nursing or residential care homes. This is because the Family Resource Survey data does not contain information on these cases. We estimate that just over 200,000 pensioners in care homes will be entitled to Pension Credit. This means that total pension credit entitlement for 2003–04 is estimated to be about 3.8 million households.

5. The figures in the table were rounded to the nearest 50,000 cases. The figures may not add up due to rounding.

The Department's PSA target states that 3 million households will be in receipt of Pension Credit by 2006.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what plans he has to introduce a free phone helpline for pensioners when the pension credit is introduced; [115291](2) what action he is taking to ensure that the helpline for the pension credit will be adequately staffed. [115276]

The free pension credit application line became operational on 7 April 2003. The main purpose of the application line is to take applications for pension credit, but it will also deal with inquiries. Staffing levels for the application line have been based on a careful assessment of the likely numbers of applications for pension credit. A phased and measured approach to taking on applications will help to ensure that staffing levels are appropriate for the level of applications at any time.