HC Deb 27 November 1998 vol 321 cc30-1W
Mr. Webb

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what estimate he has made of the amount of each means-tested benefit which is currently unclaimed by pensioners for each region within Great Britain. [61155]

Mr. Denham

The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is set out in the table.

Amount of unclaimed Income Support and Council Tax Benefit by pensioners, by region, for the year
£ million
Government region Amount of Income Support unclaimed Amount of Council Tax Benefit unclaimed
North East 30 20
North West and Merseyside 100 50
Yorkshire and the Humber 65 35
East Midlands 40 30
West Midlands 60 40
Eastern 50 30
London 80 60
South East 85 60
South West 65 40
Wales 80 20
Scotland 55 50
Total 710 435


1. All estimates are rounded to the nearest 5 million.

2. Due to small sample sizes across all regions, estimates for Housing Benefit are not available.

3. These figures do not take account of potential biases. The true figure may therefore be higher or lower than those quoted.


1996–97 Family Resources Survey

Mr. Webb

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many pensioners are in receipt of income support and are(a) between 65 and 69 years of age, (b) between 70 and 74 years of age, (c) between 75 and 79 years of age and (d) 80 or over years of age in each region within Great Britain. [61147]

Mr. Denham

The information is in the table.

Income support claimants aged 65 and over, by region—May 1998
Region All claimants Aged 65–69 Aged 70–74 Aged 75–79 Aged 80 and over
North West 181 29 30 36 85
Wales 81 12 13 17 38
Scotland 137 23 24 28 62


1. Figures are based on a 5 per cent. sample of all cases and as such are subject to a degree of sampling error. For example, for an estimate of 10,000 the figure could lie between 9,100 and 10,900.

2. Figures do not sum due to rounding to the nearest thousand.

Mr. Webb

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the cost of raising the lower capital limit for income support for pensioner claimants from £3,000 to(a) the level it would have been if it has been uprated by prices since 1988, (b) £10,000, (c) £15,000 and (d) £20,000, assuming no upper limit in all cases. [61148]

Mr. Denham

The estimated Income Support costs in 1999–2000 are(a) £50 million; (b) £110 million; (c) £135 million; (d) £155 million.


1. Variant (a) has been based upon raising the lower capital limit to £4,662. This is based upon the assumption of the £3,000 lower capital limit being uprated by the increase in the RPI between April 1988 and September 1998 (for uprating), to the nearest pound.

2. These figures are rounded to the nearest £5 million and are based upon the Department's Policy Simulation Model of income-related benefits. This model draws data from the 1995–96 Family Resources Survey, uprated to 1999–2000 levels, and calibrates results to forecast benefit caseloads consistent with the Comprehensive Spending Review forecasts.

3. Estimates relate only to Income Support costs. No assumptions has been made about how this might feasibly be aligned through the other income-related benefits.

4. For capital costings, estimates are further adjusted using May 1997 administrative data in order to bring results into line with known reported capital of benefit cases. In the absence of any other information, the same adjustments have been applied to estimated existing gainers and floaters-on. Estimates from household surveys based on reported capital holdings are subject to low levels of response and high levels of imputation. Consequently they should not be interpreted as precise point estimates, but rather as indicative of broad magnitudes.

5. Estimates do not include cases in Residential Care and Nursing Homes.