HC Deb 27 June 2002 vol 387 cc1056-7W
Mr. Simon Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what assessment has been made of the additional cost to a person of caring for a disabled person; and what element of this is provided for in the state pension; [62371]

(2) what representations he has received regarding the rule that invalid care allowance cannot be paid to people of pensionable age; and what plans he has to review this rule. [62372]

Maria Eagle

No estimates of the additional cost to a person of caring for a disabled person are available and the state pension does not contain an element in respect of caring responsibility, but carers entitlement to state pension is protected through contribution credits and the home responsibilities protection scheme. In addition, from April this year some 2 million carers are able to build up entitlement to an additional pension through the state second pension.

As part of the substantial package of measures to help carers announced in autumn 2000, the Government have responded positively to representations made by older carers and their organisations by abolishing the age 65 upper age limit for claims to invalid care allowance. This change comes into effect on 28 October 2002. It will enable older carers with little of no retirement pension to receive the allowance, while those with low incomes will benefit by gaining access to the carer premium paid with income-related benefits, and follows the substantial increases to the carer premium and to the earnings limit for entitlement to invalid care allowance made in April 2001. Overall these measures, together with the continued payment of invalid care allowance for up to eight weeks after the death of the severely disabled person being cared for, will provide over £500 million in extra support for carers over three years.

Age 60–64 Age 65–69 Age 70–74 Age 75–79 Age 80+
Single males
Median income (£) n/a 138 141 136 132
Number n/a 230,000 260,000 240,000 290,000
Single females
Median income (£) 132 127 127 116 109
Number 380,000 470,000 630,000 670,000 1.000,000
Median income (£) n/a 296 258 236 211
Number n/a 980,000 760,000 510,000 410,000


1. The definition of income used here is gross income, that is income gross of the following items: income tax payments, national insurance contributions, contributions to occupational and personal pension schemes, local taxes, maintenance, child support payments and parental contributions to students living away from home.

2. "Median income" represents the income of the person or family exactly in the middle of the range of ranked incomes of the age group. For each age group there is a wide range of incomes.

3. The data are from the Family Resources Survey 2000–01 and are rounded to the nearest £1 or 10,000.

4. Estimates are for pensioner units. Pensioner units are defined as single (non-cohabiting) people over state pension age (65 and over for men, 60 and over for women) and couples (married or cohabiting) where the man is over state pension age.

5. Pensioner units are allocated to age categories according to the age of the head. The head of a couple is defined as the man.

6. Estimates have not been split by gender for couples as the extent of income sharing within pensioner units is not known.

7. Means tested benefits refer to minimum income guarantee, working families' tax credit, housing benefit, council tax benefit and social fund grants.

8. These results are based on survey respondents' identification of different elements of benefit income, and are therefore subject to misreporting.

Mr. Charles Kennedy

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if it is his policy to regard money purchase pension schemes as broadly comparable with final salary pension schemes; and if he will make a statement. [63169]

Mr. McCartney

Both defined benefit and defined contribution pensions have their advantages and disadvantages. However, the Government's principal

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