It was an honour and a privilege to visit my hon. Friend’s Kettering constituency. Although the figures on new pension credit claims cannot be broken down by constituency or region, the pension credit campaign has been highly successful, with more than 10,000 claims received across Great Britain during the week of the pension credit day of action on 15 June. That was an increase of 275% for the relevant period compared with 2021, which also saw an increase.
I congratulate my hon. Friend on being the longest-serving Pensions Minister ever and thank him for visiting Kettering on Friday 1 July and supporting the Kettering Older People’s Fair. I urge him to use the fact that pension credit is a gateway benefit in encouraging people to take it up. Not only could it be worth £3,300 in itself, but it gives access to extra help with council tax, heating bills, NHS dental treatment and free TV licences.
As my hon. Friend knows, I am in day three of being the Pensions Minister—but the previous one was very good, I did hear. The practical reality is that pension credit is a difficult benefit to try to get out, because everybody has to apply. It is very much our role as Members of Parliament across all parties to ensure that we send out the message that, if anybody is in doubt, they should apply. That can apply to any particular member of our community because the circumstances differ in any particular way, but my hon. Friend is right that this benefit is a springboard to so much else, with £3,300 on average that people can apply for.
I am not quite sure of your connection with this question, as a Scottish MP, because obviously it is about Northamptonshire and England. There must be one, but I cannot see it. Are you sure there is a connection to the question? [Interruption.] It is limited to three areas—the responsibility is for those areas. I call James Sunderland.