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Pension Service

Volume 406: debated on Monday 9 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the effectiveness of the new Pension Service. [114870]

The Pension Service was launched to provide a service focused on the needs of pensioners. To date the service has opened 25 of its planned 26 new centres across the country and continues to deliver services through an International and two National pension centres at Newcastle.In addition, last month, The Pension Service launched the Pension Credit Application Line to support early applications for Pension Credit which is payable from October 2003.The Pension Service has also implemented a local service, now operating in all regions of England, Scotland and Wales, and is working in partnership with many other organisations dealing with pensioners such as local authorities and voluntary sector organisations.The local service will play a vital role in promoting Pension Credit, providing advice and information to partners, and working with them to help target customers who need additional help in taking up their entitlements, such as ethnic minority or housebound customers, and those with disabilities.Further information on The Pension Service targets and standards can be found in the Department for Work and Pensions Departmental Report 2002–03 published 15 May 2003 and The Pension Service Business Plan 2003–04 published 14 April 2003. Both documents are available in the Library.