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Pensioners: Poverty

Volume 473: debated on Monday 17 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of pensioners in (a) Eastbourne constituency, (b) East Sussex and (c) the UK falling below the poverty threshold in (i) 2010, (ii) 2012 and (iii) 2014. (192119)

Poverty is a complex and multidimensional issue and, as such, there are many possible measures of poverty.

As no single measure captures all aspects of poverty, the new public service agreement “Tackle poverty and promote greater independence and wellbeing in later life” includes a range of indicators related to low income for pensioners. These are: the percentage of pensioners below 60 per cent. contemporary median income, 50 per cent. median income and 60 per cent. of 1998-99 median income uprated in line with prices, all measured after housing costs.

Specific information regarding low income for the United Kingdom is available in “Households Below Average Income 1994-95 to 2005-06 (Revised)”. The data source does not allow us to provide robust numbers for estimates below the level of Government office region.

The proportion of pensioners in low income in the UK and the south east has fallen substantially over the last 10 years. Any current projection of the number of pensioners in poverty in 2010, 2012 and 2014 would be subject to uncertainties around future income growth, changes in the income distribution and individual changes in behaviour in response to policy changes. The Government therefore do not publish forward projections.