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Pension Credit

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 29 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners his Department estimates are eligible for pension credit in (a) the UK and (b) Wales; how many pensioners in (i) the UK and (ii) Wales have taken up pension credit each year since it was introduced; and if he will make a statement. (128428)

Estimates of eligibility and therefore take-up are not available below the level of Great Britain, it is not therefore possible to say how many people are eligible to pension credit or what the take-up is in Wales.

The latest estimate of the number of pensioners entitled to pension credit in Great Britain is between 3.7 million and 4.2 million.

The latest estimates of the take-up of the main income-related benefits: income support, pension credit, housing benefit, council tax benefit and jobseeker’s allowance (income-based) in Great Britain can be found in the DWP report entitled “Income Related Benefits Estimates of Take-Up in 2004/2005”. Copies of the publication are available in the Library.

Pension credit has been highly successful in reducing pensioner poverty and now, after housing costs have been accounted for, pensioners are less likely to be in poverty than the population as a whole. Since the introduction of pension credit, the number of pensioners in relative poverty has fallen by half a million.

We continue to make every effort to ensure that pension credit goes to those who are entitled to it. The table shows the number of households in Great Britain and Wales receiving pension credit each year since its introduction.

In Northern Ireland pension credit administration is a matter for the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Pension credit household recipients

Great Britain


November 2003



August 2004



August 2005



August 2006




1. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest 10/100.

2. Pension credit was introduced on 6 October 2003 and replaced minimum income guarantee (income support for people aged 60 or over).

3. Household recipients are those people who claim pension credit either for themselves only or on behalf of a household.


DWP Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent. data