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Malcolm Wicks: It is not possible to say how many pensioners over 70 years have received the £100 payment as data for 200405 is not yet available. The One-off 70+ Payment is being paid in most cases with the winter fuel payment. In winter 200304 there were 10,660 pensioners aged 70 or over in the Newcastle-under-Lyme constituency who received a winter fuel payment. We would expect a similar number to receive the One-off 70+ Payment this winter.
3. Figures taken from the Matching, Intelligence, and Data Analysis Service. As only one additional £100 amount is available per household, not all of these pensioners will have received an additional £100. For example, in households with two pensioners aged 70 years or over, they will each receive an additional £50.
Malcolm Wicks: The information on the numbers of households in receipt of free TV licences is not available by constituency. The number of households with at least one resident aged 75 or over in the Newcastle-under-Lyme constituency in each year since 200203 is in the table. Each of these households would therefore be eligible for a free TV licence. Household information relating to earlier years is not available.
|Households with someone aged 75 or over|
|Number of awards|
|Staffordshire Social Fund District|
|200203 to October||2,221|
|Staffordshire Jobcentre Plus District|
|200203 from November||1,648|
Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will reform rules for housing and council tax benefit to exclude receipts of pension credit in the calculation of entitlement to these benefits; and what estimate he has made of the cost of such reform. 
For people who are in receipt of the guarantee element, or both the guarantee and savings credit elements of pension credit, all of their income and capital is disregarded when their entitlement to housing benefit and council tax benefit is calculated. This includes pension credit itself.
For those in receipt of the savings credit element only, this is taken into account as income when entitlement to housing benefit and council tax benefit is calculated. However in October 2003, when pension credit was introduced, we raised the applicable amounts in both housing benefit and council tax benefit to reflect the maximum savings credit a person could get, irrespective of whether or not they are actually in receipt of the savings credit. This ensures that people do not see the extra money they get completely clawed back when housing benefit and council tax benefit are readjusted following the award of the savings credit.
|Ward Name||DLA||Winter Fuel Payment|
Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what targets have been set for his Department for the number and percentage of benefit claimants who will transfer to direct payment of benefits; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) if he will place in the Library copies of (a) administrative and (b) operational (i) instructions and (ii) targets issued to his Department's staff regarding the transfer of benefit claims to direct payments. 
Mr. Pond [holding answer 21 October 2004]: With regard to the conversion of customers to Direct Payment the Department has a published Public Service Agreement target that by 2005, 85 per cent. of customers will have their benefits paid by Direct Payment.
To achieve the target customers are being provided with all the information they need on all of their "account options", including which accounts can be used at Post Office branches. It will be up to the customers themselves to decide which type of account they wish to have their money paid into.
Independent research commissioned by DWP shows that 82 per cent. of customers found the process of opening an account to be easy and 93 per cent. were happy once they had transferred to Direct Payment.
Key figures on the progress of conversion to Direct Payment are available in the Library and these are updated every four weeks. In addition a Direct Payment Customer Call Centre script and operational guidance is already available in Library.
17 Nov 2004 : Column 1652W
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