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Public Expenditure: Coventry

Volume 495: debated on Monday 6 July 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effect of the 2009 Budget on pensioners resident in Coventry. (272953)

I have been asked to reply.

In the 2009 Budget the Chancellor announced a number of measures that will benefit pensioners, including those in Coventry.

In order to help those pensioners who receive income from savings and who may have been affected by lower interest rates, the Government will be increasing the threshold in pension credit (and housing and council tax benefit for those who have attained the qualifying age for pension credit) from £6,000 to £10,000 from November 2009, so that pensioners can have up to £10,000 without it affecting their benefits; launching a tax back awareness campaign in autumn 2009 to encourage all those in receipt of pension credit to ensure they are not paying tax on their savings that they do not have to and to claim back overpaid tax; and from 2009-10, the amounts that people aged 50 and over can save in an Individual Savings Account (ISA) will be increased to £10,200 of which £5,100 can be saved in cash form (effective from 6 October 2009).

In addition there will be a repeat of this years additional winter fuel payment of £50 for households with someone aged 60-79 and £100 for those with someone aged 80 or over in winter 2009-10. This means the winter fuel payments will be £250 and £400 respectively for winter 2009-10 which provides a significant contribution towards an older person's winter fuel bill.

The Government have also committed to maintain the standard interest rate applied in the support for mortgage interest scheme at 6.08 per cent. for a further six months until the end of December 2009, this will help those on pension credit who receive help with their mortgage.

The Government also reconfirmed their commitment to uprate the basic state pension by a minimum of 2.5 per cent. should the retail prices index fall below 2.5 per cent. in September 2009.

A further change announced in the 2009 Budget is for grandparents who stop work to care for their grandchildren before they reach state pension age. They will be eligible to receive national insurance credits that will top up their basic state pension. This change is due to come into effect in 2011 and will make it easier for grandparents who take on significant caring responsibilities.