§ Mr. Hepburn
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress he has made in combating pensioner poverty in South Tyneside in the last 12 months 
§ Mr. McCartney
Since taking office in 1997 we have made a significant impact on the lives of our poorest pensioners.
We have introduced the minimum income guarantee from which some 6,800 pensioners in South Tyneside have benefited. We have boosted retirement pension through above inflation increases, both this year and next, to the benefit of some 29,800 pensioners in South Tyneside. We have also introduced free TV licences for the over 75's and next winter the winter fuel payment will again be £200.
All in all, throughout Great Britain, 2 million people in pensioner households are now at least £15 a week, or £800 a year better off in real terms as a result of our measures.