HC Deb 18 January 1999 vol 323 cc373-4W
Mr. Webb

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what estimate he has made of the cost in each of the next 10 financial years of linking the rate of income support for pensioners to earnings rather than prices. [65424]

Angela Eagle

The information is not available in the form requested.

In April 1999 the Income Support rate for pensioners will be increased by more than if they had been uprated by earnings.

On this basis the estimated cost to the Income Related benefits of increasing the rate of Income Support (IS) for pensioners by earnings rather than prices would be approximately £250 million in 2000–01 and £520 million in 2001–02. These figures are based on departmental forecasts of the future number of pensioners on Income Related Benefits. Estimated forecasts beyond 2001–02 are not routinely provided on an annual basis, and to do so would incur disproportionate costs.

However, long-term figures on the costs to income related benefits have been estimated using PENSIM, a dynamic simulation model that projects pensioners' incomes into the next century. For illustrative purposes the estimated cost of uprating IS for pensioners in line with earnings by 2010, based on PENSIM, would be around £3.5 billion in today's prices. PENSIM estimates, however, are based on a number of economic and behavioural assumptions. Due to the reliance on assumptions and the time period covered, estimates should be treated with caution, and have been heavily rounded.


1. Estimates for 2000–01 and 2001–02 are in cash terms. The estimated cost in 2010 is for illustrative purposes and shown in constant prices. This is consistent with other PENSIM figures in the public domain.

2. Short-term estimates have been rounded to the nearest £10, and the estimate for 2010 is rounded to the nearest half a billion to reflect the uncertainty of the estimate.

Mr. Field

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he expects to publish the findings on the pilot studies on income support take-up. [66128]

Angela Eagle

The evaluation of the Income Support take-up pilots is currently underway. Results are expected before the Spring and publication will follow as soon as possible after that.

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