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|Household recipients of pension credit and the cost of pension credit expenditure for constituencies in WalesNovember 2005 and August 2006|
|Parliamentary constituencies||Number of household recipients November 2005 (thousand)||Annual minimum income guarantee and pension credit expenditure 2005 (£ million nominal terms)||Number of household recipients August 2006 (thousand)||Annual pension credit expenditure 2006 (£ million nominal terms)|
1. Expenditure figures are consistent with the published PBR 2006 Great Britain pension credit outturn annual totals and are rounded to the nearest £100,000.
2. The number of households in receipt are rounded to the nearest 10.
3. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
4. Caseloads and average weekly amounts for November 2003, November 2004, November 2005 and August 2006 have been used to calculate the annual expenditure figures for each constituency in Wales.
5. Household recipients are those people who claim pension credit either for themselves only or on behalf of a household.
DWP Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent. data and DWP Benefit Expenditure Tables
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate (a) how many pensioners were living in deep poverty, defined as a household income below 40 per cent. of median household earnings and (b) how many such pensioners were not claiming the full pension credit or minimum income guarantee they were entitled to in each year since 1997-98. 
James Purnell: The most common and internationally recognised threshold to measure poverty is income below 60 per cent. of median. We do not present information covering 40 per cent. of median income in our Households Below Average Income series as it is not a good measure of poverty. This is because households stating the lowest incomes to the Family Resources Survey (FRS) may not actually have the lowest living standards. Many people who report very low incomes appear to have high spending. Hence any statistics on numbers in this group may be misleading.
Specific information regarding low income for the United Kingdom is available in Households Below Average Income 1994-95 to 2005-06 (HBAI). This annual report, which is a National Statistics publication, includes the numbers and proportions of individuals, children, working age adults and pensioners with incomes below 50 per cent., 60 per cent. and 70 per cent. of median income, and the proportions in persistent poverty.
Pension credit has been highly successful in reducing pensioner poverty; since its introduction, the number of pensioners in relative poverty has fallen by over 700,000. Now, for the first time in a period of sustained economic growth, pensioners are less likely to be in poverty than the population as a whole, after housing costs are accounted for.
We continue to make every effort to ensure that pension credit goes to those who are entitled to it. It is more challenging to reach those entitled to smaller amounts, or to the savings credit only, who may be less familiar with the entitlements available to them. The Pension Service has contacted pensioners to encourage them to take up entitlement to pension credit many times already as part of extensive marketing activity. Over 70 per cent. of those pensioners who appear to have entitlement to pension credit have been contacted over five times already. And around 25 per cent. of customers visited about pension credit say that they do not want to make a claim. However, we are committed to improving take-up and are continually looking at further ways to target these groups and encouraging them to apply.
The information requested for pensioners in Great Britain is shown in the following tables. Estimates of entitled non-recipients of MIG or pension credit should be treated with caution. This is especially the case given that we are looking at the extreme of the income distribution and so are less sure of pensioners modelled entitlement. Results are based on small sample sizes and have not been corrected for biases that may be inherent in estimates of entitlement to income related benefitsthat is, they may be based on the data for those who appear to be entitled non-recipients but will not all actually be entitled non recipients and vice versa. Figures are therefore presented as proportions of the total pensioner population below the 40 per cent. of median household income.
|Table 1 : Number of pensioners living in households with less than 40 per cent of contemporary median household income, and as a proportion of all pensioners, for the years 1997-98 to 2005-06, Great Britain|
|After housing costs (Million)||As a proportion of all pensioners (Percentage)|
1. Figures are presented after housing costs as this is our preferred measure for pensioners.
2. The table shows number of individuals in millions, rounded to the nearest 10 thousand.
3. These figures are not National Statistics and caution must be applied because those people stating the lowest incomes in the FRS may not actually have the lowest living standards.
4. Estimates cover the private household population of Great Britain. The data source is the Family Resources Survey.
5. These figures are calculated using OECD equivalisation factors. Prior to 2002-03 they are based on a GB median and from 2002-03 it is based on a UK median. This is consistent with low income estimates published in the latest edition of Households Below Average Income. The GB median is similar to the UK median.
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