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Fixed-interest Income Bonds

Volume 521: debated on Monday 10 January 2011

12. What assistance his Department provides to pensioners who rely on fixed-interest income bonds. (32654)

For pensioners with savings, the Government ignore the first £10,000 of their capital when assessing them for pension credit, as a result of which almost nine out of 10 pension credit applicants have no capital taken account of at all. In addition, to support all pensioners the basic state pension will rise by £4.50 this April and the standard minimum guarantee for pension credit by £4.75.

About one third of my constituents are on pensions, which are often very small. What plans do the Government have to help older people who live on small incomes for which they have saved all their lives to build up?

My hon. Friend raises the very important point that falling interest rates and rates of return on savings tend to affect older people in particular. When we look at state pension reform, the return to saving and the reward for saving will be a particular priority for us. Many pensioners have their savings in very low-interest accounts, sometimes paying as little as 0.1%. There are much better rates out there, and I encourage all pensioners to shop around extensively to find the best rates possible.