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Pensioner Poverty

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 29 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what measures his Department has taken to reduce pensioner poverty in Coventry South since 1997. (80585)

The seventh annual ‘Opportunity for all’ report (Cm 6673) sets out the Government’s strategy for tackling poverty and social exclusion and reports progress against a range of indicators.

The Government have introduced a number of measures since 1997 to help older people enjoy a better standard of living, such as minimum income guarantee, and then its successor, pension credit, winter fuel payments, free TV licences for over 75s and increases above inflation in the basic state pension. The minimum level of income pensioners are expected to live on has increased by a third in real terms since 1997. As at November 2005, 4,800 people in Coventry South constituency were receiving pension credit.

Between 1996-97 and 2004-05 numbers of pensioners in Great Britain in relative low income, after housing costs, have fallen by over a third from 2.8 million to 1.8 million. Pensioners are now less likely to be in low-income than younger people, on an after housing costs basis. Information on the numbers of pensioners in low income is not available at constituency level.

The Pensions White Paper “Security in retirement: towards a new pensions system” (Cm 6841) announced our commitment to uprate the pension credit standard guarantee and the basic state pension in line with earnings growth ensuring that we continue to tackle pensioner poverty.