HC Deb 20 May 2002 vol 386 cc33-4W
21. Mr. Pike

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners are in receipt of minimum income guarantee in(a) England and (b) the north-west. [55509]

Mr. McCartney

Over 2 million pensioners benefit from the minimum income guarantee (MIG). These pensioners are on average £20 a week better off. In the north-west Government office region, nearly 250,000 pensioners were in receipt of the MIG, 3,200 of these live in the Burnley constituency.

To help meet our aim of tackling pensioner poverty, we have introduced a new Pension Service. It will provide a modern, efficient and customer focused service for both today's and future pensioners.

It will comprise centralised pension centres working with an improved local service nationwide which will operate in the community working with local partners to provide face to face contact for pensioners.

This improved service will be rolled out over the next few years. In the interim, our customers will continue to deal with their existing social security offices until they are contacted in writing about the new arrangements.

Our pension centre in Burnley has been up and running since February 2002 and has created some 300 new job opportunities in the region.

22. David Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent assessment he has made of how many eligible pensioners failed to apply for minimum income guarantee in the year to 31 March. [55510]

Mr. McCartney

Over two million pensioners benefit from the MIG and are on average £20 per week better off.

The latest figures for the number of pensioners who may be entitled to but are not claiming the minimum income guarantee are available in the Library1. Estimates for pensioners are subject to greater uncertainty than other published take up estimates; research is under way to improve the precision of take up estimates.

Around 1,900 pensioners in the north-west Leicestershire constituency are receiving the minimum income guarantee, and around 16,940 winter fuel payments were made last winter. 1 Income Related Benefits—Estimates of Take Up 1999–2000.

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