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Means Tested Benefits

Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what target his Department has set on increasing take-up of each income-related benefit in each of the next three years; and if he will make a statement; (198822)

(2) what estimate his Department has made of the likely trend in the take-up rate of (a) pension credit, (b) council tax benefit, (c) disability living allowance, (d) attendance allowance, (e) income support, (f) housing benefit and (g) jobseeker’s allowance over the next three years.

The only income-related benefit for which the Department has an explicit take-up target for 2008-09 is pension credit. As published in a written ministerial statement on 27 March 2008, Official Report, columns 20-22WS, the take-up target for 2008-09 is to deliver an annualised value of new successful pension credit applications of £767 million and to secure at least 250,000 successful new pension credit applications. The target for later years will be set in due course.

Housing benefit and council tax benefit are administered by local authorities, and estimates of take-up at local authority level are not available. There are no take-up targets for the other income related benefits because these are out of work benefits and the Government’s policy is that, wherever possible, people should be in work.

For planning purposes, for pension credit, council tax benefit, income support, housing benefit and jobseeker’s allowance we assume that the proportion entitled who will receive benefit remains broadly constant; for pension credit this is consistent with the 2008-09 targets. Estimates of take-up are not known for disability living allowance or attendance allowance.