§ Mr. McCartney
In developing the Department for Work and Pension's strategy to help older people, the creation of the Pension Service is a major step forward. The Pension Service has a customer focus that will provide support to pensioners via 26 pension centres, backed by a local service providing face to face contact to those pensioners unable to use the telephone.
Over the next 18 months the Pension Service will develop and implement the Government's new pension credit, which will provide additional income for some 3.9 million pensioners.
In addition to this the Pension Service is working closely with other Government Departments, local authorities and voluntary organisations to improve services to older people. Groups such as Better Government for Older People and Partnerships Against Poverty are helping the Pension Service to develop its 1145W strategies and service while local partnerships, for example through Care Direct, are being pursued to provide a more joined up service to pensioners.
For those older people not yet ready to retire, Jobcentre Plus will continue to provide support with new deal 50 plus and work to change employers attitudes to older people through the age positive campaign. In the longer term the Government will be legislating against age discrimination in employment by 2006.