§ Mr. Willetts
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer to my hon. Friend the Member for New Forest, West (Mr. Swayne) of 2 April 2001,Official Report, column 17, if he will list the assumptions behind his statement that 9 per cent. more pensioners will be on means-tested benefits in 2003 compared with today. 
§ Mr. Rooker
The primary reason for the increase in overall numbers receiving means-tested benefits between 1999 and 2003–04 is that more people become eligible to the Minimum Income Guarantee as a result of the154W generous increase in the rates. In May 1999 some 3 million pensioners were in receipt of means-tested benefits. By 2003–04 the number of pensioners forecast to be receiving means-tested benefits is 3.2 million.
1. Pensioners are defined as where either the claimant or the partner is aged 60 or over.
2. Means-tested benefits for pensioners comprise Minimum Income Guarantee, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (the latter cases involve men between 60 and 65)
3. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10,000 and represent benefit units rather than individuals.
4. Whereas the historical figures represent a certain point in time in the year, forecast figures represent an estimated annual average caseload for the year in question.