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Volume 496: debated on Monday 20 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the rates of basic state pension payable to (a) single pensioners and (b) couples were in (i) 1996-97 and (ii) the latest date for which figures are available; and what the rates would have been if they had been uprated in line with earnings. (285753)

The information requested is in the following table:

Financial yearLevel of the basic state pension (£ per week)

Standard rate on own contributions

Standard rate for couple where wife is reliant on husband's insurance




2009-10 (actual)



2009-10 (uprated by prices)




1. All figures in cash terms.

2. Uprating calculations employ historic annual increase in the RPI series for September of the previous year.

3. There is no such thing as an actual ‘singles rate’ though the standard rate of the Category A pension is commonly referred to as the ‘singles rate’. Similarly the sum of the Category A and Category B(L) pension is often referred to as the ‘couples rate’.

4. Category B(L) pension is about 60 per cent. of the standard rate basic Category A pension. It is payable by virtue of a spouse's qualifying years or earnings.