HC Deb 16 July 1999 vol 335 cc350-1W
Mr. Jim Cunningham

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many pensioners claiming income support in the Coventry, South parliamentary constituency will benefit from(a) winter fuel payments and (b) the guaranteed minimum pensioner income. [89456]

Angela Eagle

The administration of Income Support and Winter Fuel Payments is a matter for Peter Mathison, Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to my hon. Friend shortly.

Letter from Peter Mathison to Mr. Jim Cunningham, dated 15 July 1999: The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent parliamentary question asking how may pensioners in receipt of Income Support (IS) in the Coventry South constituency will benefit from (a) a winter fuel payment and (b) the guaranteed minimum pensioner income. As at February 1999, the latest date for which administration data is available, it is estimated that there were approximately 2,800 pensioners in receipt of IS in Coventry South parliamentary constituency. "Pensioner" in this context means either a single person aged over 60 or a couple where one or both partners are over 60. We would expect a similar number to be receiving the minimum income guarantee for pensioners from April, and these pensioners will also benefit from the £100 winter fuel payment this winter. The minimum income guarantee for pensioners, delivered through IS, was introduced in April to provide a single pensioner with a weekly income of a least £75 a week, and a couple £116.60 a week. The threefold increase in the normal price uprating of the IS rates for pensioners will mean that this year, a single pensioners could be £160 a year better off in real terms. In addition to those pensioners already in receipt of IS in April, nationally it is estimated that a further 65,000 will become entitled due to the increase in benefit rates. It is also estimated that within your constituency there are a further 13,790 pensioners who will also receive a Winter Fuel Payment next winter on the grounds that they are in receipt of a different qualifying benefit, for example Retirement Pension. Some of these pensioners may have a possible entitlement to minimum pensioner income. I hope you find this reply helpful.

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