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Pensioners: Poverty

Volume 498: debated on Monday 26 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what percentage of pensioners have been defined as living in absolute poverty in (a) the North East and (b) the UK in each year since 2005-06. (295092)

Estimates of poverty, published in the Households Below Average Income series, only allow a breakdown of the overall number of people in poverty at Government office region level. Therefore, information for the Jarrow constituency and South Tyneside region is not available.

The Government use a basket of three key thresholds of income, after housing costs, to measure pensioner poverty. Absolute poverty is referred to as 60 per cent. of 1998-99 median income uprated in line with prices.

Latest information for the north-east Government office region, is based on three year averages and is provided in Table 1 as follows:

Table 1. Number and percentage of pensioners falling below 60 per cent. of 1998-99 median household income (uprated in line with prices), after housing costs, in the north-east Government office region, since 19971

Number

Percentage

1995-98

200,000

37

1996-99

200,000

33

1997-2000

100,000

30

1998-01

100,000

26

1999-02

100,000

20

2000-03

100,000

14

2001-04

0

10

2002-05

0

8

2003-06

0

7

2004-07

0

6

2005-08

0

7

1 Information is in three year averages. Note: Family expenditure survey figures are for the United Kingdom, family resources survey figures are for Great Britain up to 1997-98, and for the United Kingdom from 1998-99, with estimates for Northern Ireland imputed for the years 1998-99 through 2001-02. The reference period for FRS figures is single financial years.

Latest information for the UK is provided in Table 2 as follows:

Table 2. Number and percentage of pensioners falling below 60 per cent. of 1998-99 median household income (uprated in line with prices), after housing costs, in the UK since 1997

Number

Percentage

1997-98

3,000,000

31

1998-99

2,900,000

29

1999-2000

2,500,000

25

2000-01

2,000,000

20

2001-02

1,500,000

14

2002-03

1,200,000

12

2003-04

1,100,000

10

2004-05

900,000

8

2005-06

800,000

8

2006-07

1,100,000

10

2007-08

1,000,000

9

Notes: 1. FES figures are for the United Kingdom, FRS figures are for Great Britain up to 1997-98, and for the United Kingdom from 1998-99, with estimates for Northern Ireland imputed for the years 1998-99 through 2001-02. The reference period for FRS figures is single financial years. 2. Small changes in estimates from year to year, particularly at the bottom of the income distribution, may not be significant in view of data uncertainties. 3. Due to rounding, the estimates of change in percentages of pensioners below low-income thresholds may not equal the difference between the total percentage of pensioners below thresholds for any pair of years shown.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps the Government have taken in response to the recommendations in the Work and Pensions Select Committee report on Tackling Pensioner Poverty published in July 2009. (295440)

The Government have provided a response to the Work and Pensions Select Committee report on Tackling Pensioner Poverty. This was published by the Committee on 19 October 2009 and is available on the UK Parliament website at:

http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/work_and_pensions_committee/wappnl 9102009_.cfm

This Government have made significant progress in tackling pensioner poverty and this remains one of the Government's key priorities.