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Pensioners: Poverty

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 10 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the impact on pensioner poverty of raising the level of the basic state pension to the level of the guarantee credit; and what assumptions he has used about the take-up of income-related benefits in coming to this estimate. (155947)

We have made good progress in tackling pensioner poverty. Since 1997 the number of pensioners living in relative poverty, based on a threshold of 60 per cent. Of contemporary median income after housing costs, has fallen by 1.1 million, from 2.9 million to 1.8 million in 2005-06.

Raising the level of the basic state pension to the level of the guarantee credit is estimated to reduce the number of pensioners below 60 per cent. median income after housing costs by around 200,000 based on 2007-08 benefit rates.

This figure is based on the Department’s policy simulation model. Take-up of income related benefits are modelled and lie within the range of published National Statistics estimates.