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Pensioners (Tyneside)

Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many pensioners in (a) South Tyneside and (b) South Shields constituency were receiving Income Support in (a) 1996-97 and (b) 2000-01; and what their average benefit and average income were. [154439]

Mr. Rooker: The information is in the tables.

Compared to when this Government came to office in 1997, the average incomes of pensioners in these constituencies have risen by around £15 weekly. Over 40 per cent. of this increase can be attributed directly to help through the Minimum Income Guarantee. From this April, with the alignment of weekly Minimum Income Guarantee rates at the highest rate, no pensioner need live on less than £92.15 a week.

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Income Support pensioners average weekly income and average weekly amount of Income Support as November 1997

Number of claimantsAverage weekly amount of income (£)Average weekly amount of Income Support (£)
South Tyneside local authority6,70075.5132.73
South Shields parliamentary constituency3,80076.1031.99

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Minimum Income Guarantee pensioners average weekly income and average weekly amount of MIG as at November 2000

Number of claimantsAverage weekly amount of income (£)Average weekly amount of Income Support (£)
South Tyneside local authority6,80090.1438.03
South Shields parliamentary constituency3,70090.0937.20


1. Figures are based on a 5 per cent. sample and are therefore subject to a degree of sampling error.

2. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred and are expressed in thousands.

3. Parliamentary constituencies and local authorities have been allocated by matching postcodes against the relevant ONS postcode directory for each quarter, and represent constituency boundaries as at May 1997.

4. Pensioners are defined as benefit units where the claimant and/or partner are aged 60 and over.

5. Income is defined as all income and benefits (excluding IS), including income from Partners and dependants, taken into account and disregarded for Income Support purposes.

6. The average weekly amounts of income quoted in the tables exclude help provided through Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.


Income Support Quarterly Statistical Enquiries, November 1997 and 2000

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Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many pensioners receiving the state pension there are in (a) South Tyneside and (b) South Shields constituency; how many there were in May 1997; and how many of those were aged over 75 years. [154440]

Mr. Rooker: The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is in the table.

We will increase basic state pension from April 2001 by £5 for a single person and £8 per couple. The overall costs for Great Britain as a whole will be 1.3 billion. This will benefit over 10 million British pensioners. Among them an estimated 30,400 reside in the South Tyneside local authority and an estimated 16,500 reside in the constituency of South Shields.

Retirement pensioners in receipt of state pension resident in South Tyneside local authority, South Shields constituency and Great Britain at 30 September 2000

Total recipients75 and underOver 75
Great Britain10,185,4006,363,4003,822,000
South Tyneside30,40020,20010,300
South Shields16,50010,9005,600
Great Britain (March 1997)9,838,7006,181,7003,656,900


1. Cases are allocated to each parliamentary constituency and district authority by matching the postcode against the 2000 version 1 of the Postcode Directory supplied by ONS.

2. Great Britain data exclude Overseas and Channel Island pensioners.

3. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred.

4. Data by local authority or parliamentary constituency are not available prior to September 1999.


Based on a 5 per cent. sample taken from the Pension Strategy Computer System at 31 March 2000 and 31 March 1997.


Mr. Rooney: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if Guaranteed Minimum Pensions are payable to women beneficiaries at age 60 years. [154490]

Mr. Rooker: Yes, Guaranteed Minimum Pensions (GMPs) are payable to women, in their own right, at age 60, but they may be payable earlier to a widow who qualifies for half of her late husband's GMP. In some cases GMPs may be paid later because occupational pension schemes can have a rule which enables payment of the GMP to be postponed, beyond age 60, while an individual remains in employment.

Departmental Advertising

Mr. Ian Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what major advertising campaigns his Department is carrying out; and what the cost and duration of each is. [154262]

Mr. Rooker: The following campaigns are on-going: Pensions Education, Targeting Fraud and New Deal for Lone Parents. The costs of these are £6.5 million, £4.7 million and £2.5 million, in this financial year.

Departmental Policies (Paisley, South)

Mr. Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will set out statistical information relating as

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directly as possible to the Paisley, South constituency, the effects on Paisley, South of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [153762]

Mr. Rooker: The Department's policies and initiatives have made a significant contribution to the Government's overall objectives of:

These goals are being pursued nationwide and our achievements are set out in our annual "Opportunity for all" reports. Our second report, "Opportunity for all--One year on: making a difference" (CM4865, September 2000) sets out what progress has been made in the past year, as well as highlighting what more needs to be done. Nationwide statistical information is necessarily more complete than constituency level data, but the following provides a comparative guide to the effect of the Department's policies and actions in Paisley, South since May 1997.

Measures in our five Budgets so far will lift over 1.2 million children out of poverty. These include record increases to Child Benefit, the introduction of the Working Families Tax Credit, increases in the income- related benefits, the minimum wage and tax changes.

Child benefit will be worth £15.50 a week for the eldest child and £10.35 a week for other children from April 2001: nationally about 7 million families receive child benefit, and in Paisley, South 8,436 families benefit.

We now have the lowest unemployment rate in 25 years. The New Deals have helped lone parents, the young unemployed, the long-term unemployed, the over 50s and partners of the unemployed to move from benefit into work. In the period since May 1997 the number of people claiming Jobseekers' Allowance nationally has reduced from 1,562,400 to 1,044,900; in Paisley, South the number has reduced from 2,400 to 1,600. Since May 1997 the number of lone parents who claim Income Support has decreased from 1,013,500 to 894,100 nationally and in Paisley, South from 1,800 to 1,500.

Older people are disproportionately affected by fuel poverty. So we have introduced Winter Fuel Payments to help with their heaviest fuel bill. This winter, the payment is £200 for households who qualify. Around 13,800 older people in Paisley, South have received a Winter Fuel Payment for this winter.

To demonstrate our commitment to combating pensioner poverty, this year we will spend £4.5 billion extra in real terms on pensioners. Some 13,100 pensioners in Paisley, South will benefit from the substantial increases in the basic state pension this April and next; this year's increase is £5 a week for single pensioners and £8 for couples. In addition we have introduced free TV licences for the over 75s of whom we estimate there are about 4,900 in Paisley, South. 2,700 pensioner families in Paisley, South are receiving the Minimum Income Guarantee, which we introduced in April 1999 to help our poorest pensioners. From April they will be at least £15 a week, or £800 a year, better off in real terms as a result of Government measures since 1997.

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Other reforms in the pipeline include: the new Pension Credit in 2003 designed to ensure that pensioners benefit from their savings; the launch of Stakeholder Pensions in April this year; and the introduction of the State Second Pension in April 2002 both of which will help provide greater security for tomorrow's pensioners.

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