HC Deb 05 February 1998 vol 305 c796W
Mr. Swinney

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if she will estimate the saving to the Exchequer from unclaimed income support in respect of pensioners; how much has been spent by her Department directly on advertising income support entitlement to the elderly; and if she will make a statement. [27894]

Mr. Keith Bradley

The Department's spending plans assume existing levels of take-up of benefits, taking into account any observed trends. Unclaimed benefit does not, therefore, represent a saving on published spending plans. Latest estimates are that between £670 million and £890 million of Income Support was unclaimed by around a million pensioners in 1995–96. We are determined to get help to this group, and have already commissioned research to find out why they do not make a claim. From April, we will be spending £15 million on a number of pilot projects to find the best way of encouraging them to make a claim.

In 1996–97, the Benefits Agency spent over £5 million on publicising all benefits. It is not possible to identify how much of that figure directly related to Income Support for the elderly.

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