HC Deb 02 April 2003 vol 402 cc721-4W
Mr. Willetts

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many individuals are estimated to be eligible in 2003–04 for(a) pension credit, (b) housing benefit, (c) council tax benefit, (d) child tax credit, (e) working tax credit, (f) income support and (g) income-based jobseeker's allowance. [95236]

Malcolm Wicks

Six million families in the United Kingdom are expected to benefit from the new tax credits in 2003–04. However, information on the number of individuals eligible for working tax credit and child tax credit is not available.

The number of individuals estimated to be eligible for pension credit is 4.9 million (3.8 million pensioner households). We have set a PSA target to ensure that at least 3 million households are in receipt of pension credit by 2006. We expect to have made good progress towards this target by October 2004, when we aim to have 2.8 million households in receipt of pension credit.

The available information on existing benefits is in the table.

Estimated numbers of individuals eligible for benefit in 2003–04
Benefit Eligible individuals (million)
Housing benefit 5.1
Council tax benefit 8.1
Income support 3.0
Jobseeker's allowance (income based) 1.1


1. Individuals are defined as single adults, or both adult partners in a couple, children and non dependent adults are not included in the estimated eligible case load.

2. Figures are rounded to the nearest 100,000.


1. Benefit forecasts—based on PBR 2002 forecasts and take-up estimates from the DWP report "Income Related Benefits Estimates of Take-up in 1999/2000".

2. Pension credit forecasts—from DWP Policy Simulation Model.

John Thurso

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate for 2000–01(a) income support take-up, (b) minimum income guarantee take-up, (c) housing benefit take-up and (d) council tax benefit take-up, broken down by region. [106611]

Malcolm Wicks

The information requested is not available. The processes involved in producing take-up statistics are complex and national estimates cannot be routinely disaggregated by region.

The latest take-up statistics covering income related benefits are contained in the DWP report "Income Related Benefits Estimates of Take-Up in 2000/2001", a copy of which has been placed in the Library.

Mr. Robathan

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he has set a target for the number of benefit transactions currently paid in cash to be paid(a) into a current account, (b) into a basic bank account and (c) into a Post Office card account. [105179]

Malcolm Wicks

No target has been set for each individual account option: current bank account, basic bank account, and the Post Office card account. Customers will be supplied with information which clearly sets out their account options and will enable them to choose the account that best meets their needs and circumstances. The take-up of each account option will be dependant on a variety of factors, including the number of people receiving a benefit or pension and customers' behaviour.

The Post Office card account is now up and running and the main banks are making their basic bank accounts available at Post Office branches. Universal banking services has, therefore, been introduced as planned and on time. This represents a very considerable effort and achievement by the Post Office, banks and other parties concerned.

In line with sound principles for managing risks when introducing major projects, we will be increasing the numbers of Post Office card accounts very gradually so that we can ensure the new systems are robust. I will provide the House with regular updates on progress.

David Davis

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he has taken to identify the number of people in the East Riding of Yorkshire who are of a pensionable age who are not accessing benefits to which they are entitled. [105196]

Mr. McCartney

We want as many pensioners as possible to take up their entitlement in the East Riding of Yorkshire and across the country. The creation of The Pension Service provides an ideal opportunity to further encourage pensioners to take up their entitlements. We now have a Pension Service local service active throughout England, Scotland and Wales meeting customers in their local community. Not only are our customers being encouraged to claim when they ring their pension centre but local service teams run both appointment and drop in surgeries giving advice and actively encouraging take-up of entitlements.

There is a local service team of 18 staff covering the East Riding of Yorkshire area, dealing with both pensioners and pre-pensioners. The team is currently establishing services in partnership with local organisations. Some examples of this activity include:

  1. a) Bridlington Spa—Over 50s WorkFayre, used for an event in partnership with East Riding council under the auspices of the European Social Fund.
  2. 723W
  3. b) Kirby House, Driffield—drop-in surgery location used to talk to members of Railway Housing Trust.
  4. c) Hull and East Riding Institute for the Blind—several drop-in surgeries to various members of the group plus participation in a Low Vision Exhibition.
  5. d) Gregson Court, Hornsea—drop-in surgery for residents of local sheltered accommodation group.

Adam Price

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people were claiming(a) unemployment-related and (b) sickness-related benefits in each (i) local authority and (ii) parliamentary constituency in Wales in January. [105245]

Malcolm Wicks

For the latest available information on the number of people claiming sickness related benefits I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 25 February 2003,Official Report, columns 491–92W.

Information of the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in January is in the table.

Number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance January 2003
Unitary Authority
Total Wales 50,500
Anglesey, Isle of 1,700
Blaenau Gwent 1,800
Bridgend 2,000
Caerphilly 3,200
Cardiff 5,900
Carmarthenshire 2,700
Ceredigion 1,000
Conwy 1,700
Denbighshire 1,400
Flintshire 1,900
Gwynedd 2,500
Merthyr Tydfil 1,200
Monmouthshire 900
Neath Port Talbot 2,600
Newport 2,800
Pembrokeshire 2,600
Powys 1,300
Rhondda, Cynon, Taff 3,700
Swansea 4,100
The Vale of Glamorgan 2,100
Torfaen 1,500
Wrexham 1,800
Parliamentary Constituency
Total Wales 50,500
Aberavon 1,200
Alyn and Deeside 1,100
Blaenau Gwent 1,800
Brecon and Radnorshire 800
Bridgend 1,200
Caernarvon 1,300
Caerphilly 1,800
Cardiff Central 1,500
Cardiff North 700
Cardiff South and Penarth 2,200
Cardiff West 1,800
Carmarthen East and Dinefwr 900
Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire 1,400
Ceredigion 1,000
Clwyd South 1,000
Clwyd West 1,000
Conwy 1,300
Cynon Valley 1,100
Delyn 800
Gower 1,000
Islwyn 1,100
Llanelli 1,400

Number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance January 2003
Meirionnydd Nant Conwy 800
Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney 1,600
Monmouth 800
Montgomeryshire 500
Neath 1,400
Newport East 1,300
Newport West 1,700
Ogmore 1,100
Pontypridd 1,200
Preseli Pembrokeshire 1,600
Rhondda 1,300
Swansea East 1,600
Swansea West 1,600
Torfaen 1,400
Vale of Clwyd 1,200
Vale of Glamorgan 1,700
Wrexham 1,000
Ynys Mon 1,700


1. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred.

2. Figures are seasonally unadjusted (seasonally adjusted figures are not available for Local Authorities and Parliamentary Constituencies). Comparisons of different months in the year will be affected by seasonally and are not therefore a guide to trend.


Count of claimants of Jobseeker's Allowance, Jobcentre Plus computer systems (including clerically held cases).