§ Malcolm Wicks
The most recent monthly progress report on pension credit, accompanied by tables showing the number of pension credit households in each parliamentary constituency in Great Britain, was published on 9 February. Copies are in the Library. It is not currently possible to rank constituencies according to the level of pension credit take-up since estimates of the number of eligible households are not available at constituency level.
§ Mr. Hancock
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners are not receiving their pension credit entitlement in(a) Portsmouth and (b) England; and what steps his Department is taking to improve take-up. 
§ Malcolm Wicks
The information is not available in the form requested. However, we estimate that there are approximately 3.15 million pensioner households in England likely to be eligible for pension credit. The 317W latest monthly pension credit progress report, published on 9 February, shows that at 31 January, approximately 1.82 million pensioner households in England were receiving pension credit. As at the same date, the numbers of households receiving pension credit in Portsmouth, North and Portsmouth South were 2,555 and 3,862 respectively.
We are currently in the main phase of our marketing campaign for pension credit and aim to have at least 3 million households in receipt of pension credit by 2006. By June 2004, we will have written to all pensioner households, explaining about the new entitlement. Direct mail is being supported by extensive TV and press advertising. From May we intend to focus campaign activity on those pensioners who are likely to be entitled but who have not responded. The Pension Service local service is playing a key role, particularly in encouraging pensioners who are less likely to take up their entitlement to apply. We continue to work closely with organisations such as Help the Aged and Age Concern, at both national and local level, and with local authorities.
§ Mr. Hepburn
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the average pension credit payment is to pensioners in(a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) Tyne and Wear, (d) the North East and (e) the UK; 
(2) what the average minimum income guarantee payment is to pensioners in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) Tyne and Wear, (d) the North East and (e) the UK; 
(3) how many pensioners are (a) eligible for and (b) in receipt of pension credit in (i) Jarrow constituency, (ii) South Tyneside, (iii) Tyne and Wear, (iv) the North East and (v) the UK; 
(4) how many pensioners were in receipt of the minimum income guarantee in (a) the Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) Tyne and Wear,(d) the North East and (e) the UK at the last date on which it was paid; 
(5) how many pensioners are eligible for the minimum income guarantee in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) Tyne and Wear, (d) the North East and (e) the United Kingdom. 
§ Malcolm Wicks
Information on the number of people who are eligible for pension credit is not available in respect of individual local authority areas or parliamentary constituencies. However, we estimate that around 250,000 pensioner households in the North East Government Office Region (GOR) and around 3.8 million pensioner households in Great Britain are eligible for pension credit. Information on numbers of pension credit recipients and average awards in the areas mentioned is given in the table.
Pension credit recipients in Great Britain, the North East, Tyne and Wear, South Tyneside and Jarrow, 31 January 2004 Households Individuals Average weekly award per household (£) Great Britain 2,172,280 2,610,450 43.50 North East GOR 130,080 157,750 38.45 Tyne and Wear 60,710 73,325 39.09
Pension credit recipients in Great Britain, the North East, Tyne and Wear, South Tyneside and Jarrow, 31 January 2004 Households Individuals Average weekly award per household (£) South Tyneside 9,385 11,305 39.18 Jarrow parliamentary constituency 4,835 5,890 38.45 Notes: 1. Numbers of recipients have been rounded to the nearest five. 2. Average weekly awards have been rounded to the nearest penny. 3 Numbers of recipients exclude small numbers of clerical cases. .At 31 January there were approximately 8,370 such cases in Great Britain, of which approximately 505 were in the North East GOR. 4. Average weekly awards refer to the amount received by households, which may be a single person or a couple.
Information on minimum income guarantee is not available in the form requested.
Since 6 October 2003 pension credit has replaced the minimum income guarantee and the 1.8 million cases receiving minimum income guarantee prior to 6 October were automatically transferred to pension credit.
Following the introduction of pension credit, some elements of the support previously provided through minimum income guarantee are now provided through local authority funding for people in care homes, and through tax credits for children. In addition, average pension credit awards are expected to be lower than minimum income guarantee because a savings credit of up to £14.79 (single) or £19.20 (couples) is available for people with modest incomes above the guarantee level who previously received nothing from minimum income guarantee.
Information on the average weekly award and the number of minimum income guarantee recipients in the areas mentioned as at August 2003 appears in the following table.
£ per week Recipients (thousand) Jarrow parliamentary constituency 44.44 3.8 South Tyneside 44.55 8.1 Tyne and Wear 43.70 51.3 North East GOR 44.30 106.2 Great Britain 50.23 1,802.6 Note: Figures are based on a 5 per cent. sample and are therefore subject to a degree of sampling variation. Source: IAD Information Centre, 5 per cent. sample.
§ Malcolm Wicks
Pension Credit take-up activity is continuing across Lancashire, with the help of partner organisations and local authorities.
Activities in Lancashire include awareness talks to a wide range of organisations and regular information surgeries and publicity events. Local authorities across Lancashire have begun to use their Housing Benefit data to identify those potentially entitled to Pension 319W Credit and have worked jointly with The Pension Service on a number of marketing activities. In Chorley, activities undertaken by The Pension service include information surgeries and publicity events in libraries, day care centres and other locations including the local hospital. These are often carried out in collaboration with local authorities.
Formal agreement to proceed with joint teams has been reached with 13 of the 22 primary tier local authorities in the North West and it is expected that joint teams will start to become operational in the region from April 2004.
Pension Credit recipients in the North West, Lancashire and Chorley, December 2003 and January 2004 31 December 2003 31 January 2004 Households Individuals Households Individuals North West Government Office Region 288,575 343,680 296,320 354,025 Lancashire county district 42,075 50,535 43,870 52,940 Chorley parliamentary constituency 3,065 3,660 3,165 3,805 Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 5. 2. The figures exclude small numbers of clerical cases. At 31 December 2003 there were approximately 3,555 such cases in Great Britain and 505 in the North West region. At 31 January there were approximately 8,370 cases in Great Britain and 1,190 in the North West region.
§ Malcolm Wicks
The information is not available in the form requested. However, approximately 250 home visits involving pension credit were undertaken in the local authority cluster including Preston Chorley and South Ribble in January 2004.