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Pensioners: Poverty

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 4 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the percentage of pensioners in (a) Glasgow North West constituency, (b) Glasgow and (c) the UK who are living in poverty. (248536)

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

Our 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 relative low income (below 50 and 60 per cent. contemporary median household income), and absolute low income (below 60 per cent. of 1998-99 median income uprated in line with prices), all measured after housing costs have been taken into account.

Latest information for Scotland and the UK on the percentage of pensioners below each of these thresholds is given in the following table. The data source does not allow us to provide robust numbers for estimates below the level of Scotland as a whole.

Percentage of pensioners falling below various thresholds of median household income, after housing costs, Scotland and the UK, 2006-07



Below 60 per cent. of contemporary median household income



Below 50 per cent. of contemporary median household income



Below 60 per cent. of the 1998-99 median household income uprated in line with prices




1. The income measures used to derive the estimates shown employ the same methodology as the Department for Work and Pensions publication “Households Below Average Income” (HBAI) series, which uses disposable household income, adjusted (or ‘equivalised’) for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living.

2. The figures are based on OECD equivalisation factors.

3. Figures are based on survey data and as such are subject to a degree of sampling and non-sampling error.


Scottish Households Below Average Income 2006-07, Households Below Average Income 1994-95 to 2006-07.