Previous Section Index Home Page


SOCIAL SECURITY

Pensions (Overseas Residents)

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many British citizens who have retired and taken up residence overseas are in receipt of pensions which are (a) frozen and (b) uprated annually. [145179]

Mr. Rooker: State Retirement Pensions are paid to those who have satisfied the contribution conditions, not just UK nationals. There are 460,100 pensioners living abroad in receipt of a UK State Retirement Pension at a frozen rate and 378,900 who receive a State Retirement Pension which is uprated annually.





Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what his estimate is of the cost of abolishing the regulations governing the freezing of state pensions for British citizens who have retired and taken up residence overseas. [145178]

Mr. Rooker: The estimated cost is £300 million per annum.

Winter Fuel Payments

Mr. Alasdair Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what measures he has taken to advertise the winter fuel payments for men aged 60 to 64 years from 1997 to 2000 which are unclaimed. [145123]

Mr. Rooker: An information campaign has been running since last April. It included national and regional press advertisements, a telephone helpline, leaflets, posters and the internet. Information has been made widely available, including in doctor's surgeries, citizens advice bureaux, post offices and local Social Security offices. It aims to ensure existing and potential customers are aware of the changes and what action, if any, is required of them.

In May last year we also wrote to around 1.2 million people identified by the Department as being newly eligible for the payments, inviting them to claim.

It is up to the individual to choose whether to claim, however, there is no time limit for claiming Winter Fuel Payments for past winters, 1997-98, 1998-99 and 1999-2000, and we are still receiving and processing claims.

Mr. Alasdair Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the total of the unclaimed winter fuel allowance; and how many men aged between 60 and 64 years have not claimed the allowance in Scotland. [145122]

Mr. Rooker: In Scotland, around 50,000 men aged 60-64 have made a claim for this winter.

15 Jan 2001 : Column: 80W

The information campaign, which has been running since April, has aimed to ensure that existing and potential customers know about the changes to the scheme and what to do to get a payment, however it is up to the individual to choose whether to make a claim.

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many Winter Fuel Payments have been sent to people who are ineligible for the benefit in each year since 1997; and what action has been taken to re-claim these incorrect payments. [142407]

Mr. Rooker: During the first winter the scheme was in operation, when Winter Fuel Payments were benefit related (1997-98), under 1 per cent. (9,357) of the total number entitled were issued with a payment when they were not eligible.

The merits of whether or not to pursue payment recovery were considered and decided on a case-by-case basis. No further information is available.

Pensioners (Incomes)

Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what percentage of (a) single pensioners, (b) pensioner couples and (c) all pensioner households were dependent on state benefits for at least 75 per cent. of their income in the latest year for which figures are available. [145115]

Mr. Rooker: The information is in the table.

Proportion of pensioners dependent on state benefits for at least 75 per cent. of their income, 1998-99

Percentage
Single pensioners60
Pensioner couples35
All pensioners50

Notes:

1. Income is defined as gross (pre-tax) income.

2. Pensioners are defined as single people over State Pension age and couples (married or co-habiting) where the man is over State Pension age.

Source:

Family Resources Survey (FRS) 1998-99


Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the (a) mean and (b) median income of (i) single men aged 65 to 74 years, (ii) single men aged 75 years and over, (iii) single women aged 65 to 74 years, (iv) single women aged 75 years and over, (v) pensioner couples aged 65 to 74 years and (vi) pensioner couples aged 75 years and over, for the latest year for which figures are available. [145117]

Mr. Rooker: The information is in the table.

Average net income of pensioners, 1998-99

£
MeanMedian
Single men
Aged 65 to 74 years167130
Aged 75 years and over145120
Single women
Aged 65 to 74 years144116
Aged 75 years and over129115
Pensioner couples
Aged 65 to 74 years288227
Aged 75 years and over238188

Notes:

1. Income is defined as net income before housing costs.

2. The amounts of income are in £s per week at July 1998 prices and are rounded to the nearest £1.

3. Pensioner couples are defined as married or co-habiting couples.

4. Pensioner couples are allocated to age categories based on the age of the man.

Source:

Family Resources Survey (FRS) 1998-99.


15 Jan 2001 : Column: 81W

Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what the value was of the basic state pension for (a) single pensioners and (b) pensioner couples, for each year between November 1979 and April 2001; and what it would have been had it been uprated each year in line with the higher of average earnings or prices. [145116]

Mr. Rooker: The figures are in the tables.

Our priorities are first, to improve the incomes of the poorest pensioners and second to help those with modest pensions or savings.

As a result of our measures, this year around 2 million of the poorest pensioner households will be at least £15 a week, or £800 a year, better off in real terms and pensioner households will on average be £580 a year (£11 a week) better off. This year we will be spending £4.5 billion extra in real terms on alleviating pensioner poverty rising to over £5 billion a year from 2002-03--£3 billion more a year than if basic state pension had been linked to earnings since April 1998. This means that 49 out of every 50 pensioner households will experience more improvement as a result of our measures since 1998 than with an earnings-linked basic pension.

Single pensioners

Uprating dateBasic state pensionAmount if up-rated by higher of RPI/earnings
November 197923.3023.30
November 198027.1527.60
November 198129.6030.90
November 198232.8533.50
November 198334.0536.40
November 198435.8038.25
November 198538.3041.60
July 198638.7043.45
April 198739.5045.90
April 198841.1549.50
April 198943.6053.85
April 199046.9059.05
April 199152.0065.50
April 199254.1570.50
April 199356.1073.90
April 199457.6076.25
April 199558.8578.85
April 199661.1581.95
April 199762.4585.40
April 199864.7088.90
April 199966.7593.25
April 200067.5097.45
April 200172.50101.15


15 Jan 2001 : Column: 82W

Pensioner couples

Uprating dateBasic state pensionAmount if up-rated by higher of RPI/earnings
November 197937.3037.30
November 198043.4544.20
November 198147.3549.50
November 198252.5553.65
November 198354.5058.30
November 198457.3061.25
November 198561.3066.60
July 198661.9569.60
April 198763.2573.50
April 198865.9079.25
April 198969.8086.20
April 199075.1094.55
April 199183.25104.85
April 199286.70112.85
April 199389.80118.30
April 199492.10121.95
April 199594.10126.10
April 199697.75131.05
April 199799.80136.55
April 1998103.40142.15
April 1999106.70149.10
April 2000107.90155.80
April 2001115.90161.70

Notes:

1. Rates are taken from November 1979 as the earnings link was ended in November 1980.

2. The Retail Prices Index (all items) has been used as published by the Office for National Statistics.

3. Average Earnings Index Whole Economy (Non Seasonally Adjusted) as published by the Office for National Statistics.

4. From April 1994 the basic rate of retirement pension has been increased by 50p on a single person and an additional 20p on a pensioner couple to reflect VAT on fuel.

5. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 5 pence at each uprating.


Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many retirement pensioners in Great Britain are receiving (a) housing benefit and (b) council tax benefit. [145111]

Mr. Rooker: The number of retirement pensioners in Great Britain who are in receipt of Housing Benefit is 1,527,000. The number of retirement pensioners in Great Britain who are in receipt of Council Tax Benefit is 2,210,000.









Next Section Index Home Page