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Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the administrative costs have been of managing the pension credit system since its introduction; how much was paid in pension credit in each year; and what the percentage take-up of pension credit by (a) men and (b) women was in each year since its introduction. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The following table shows the administrative costs for managing the pension credit system since its inception in October 2003. Please note that due to the launch of pension credit in October 2003, the figures for the financial year 2003-04 are low in comparison to future years; years 2004-06 administrative costs are at their highest due to these years being the peak years for achieving the PSA target; and years 2006-08 represent steady state. The lower costs for 2007-08 represent the impact of the Pension Transformation Programme (PTP) and the introduction of PTP wave 1.
|Administrative costs of pension credit|
|2003 - 04||2004- 05||2005- 06||2006- 07||2007- 08|
1. All data taken from ABM except central directorate costs from Pensions Finance Data Warehouse.
2. 2003-04 costs are the operational costs for pension credit only i.e. they exclude central and non-staff costs which are not available.
3. 2004-05 and 2005-06 central functions and non-staff costs pro rated from pension credit share of operations costs.
4. Final 2007-08 outturn total = £404.29 million.
Accounting, Shared Services, Norcross.
|Pension credit case load, number of claimants and percentage by gender of claimant|
|Percentage of case load|
|Total case load claimants (Thousand)||Female||Male|
DWP Information Directorate Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.
The Government have introduced a number of measures to help older people out of poverty. In 1997, the poorest pensioners lived on around £69 a week, today pension credit ensures that no pensioner needs to live on less than £124.05 a week (£189.35 for a couple). We have successively raised the standard minimum guarantee in pension credit at least in line with earnings in every year since its introduction, and the value of the safety-net we provide for the poorest pensioners has increased by over a third in real terms since 1997.
We have made good progress in tackling pensioner poverty. Between 1998-99 and 2006-07 the number of pensioners in low income in the UK has fallen from 2.9 million to 2.1 million (measured by 60 per cent. of contemporary median income after housing costs.)
Our commitments in the Pensions Act 2007 to continue to uprate the pension credit standard minimum guarantee at least in line with earnings over the long term, and to reintroduce the earnings link to basic state pension from 2012, or by the end of the next Parliament, will help secure the gains we have made into the future.
We are striving to ensure that older people are aware of, and take up their entitlements through initiatives such as: using sophisticated data matching to identify those who may be entitled to, but not currently receiving, benefits; home visits for vulnerable customers; targeted local marketing and media campaigns; a simple and straightforward claim process and ever closer working with partner organisations.
In addition to pension credit we have increased winter fuel payments to £200 for households with someone aged 60-79, and £300 for those with someone aged 80 or over. We will be making an additional payment for winter 2008-09 of £50 for households with someone aged 60 to 79 and £100 for those with someone aged 80 or over. Since 1997, we have also introduced free eye-tests, free off-peak bus travel for pensioners and free television licences for those aged over 75.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Pensions Bill, which is currently progressing through Parliament, will bring in arrangements to encourage individuals to make provisions for their own retirement through the introduction of automatic enrolment. In addition, for the first time, employers will also be required to contribute to workers' pensions.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will place in the Library the tender documentation setting out the criteria by which the contract to replace the Post Office Card Account was awarded including (a) specifications, (b) invitation to tender or negotiate and (c) descriptive documentation; and if he will make a statement. 
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of (a) the number of cold weather payments to be made in 2008-09 and (b) the cost of the payments. 
The cost of cold weather payments for 2008-09 cannot be estimated because it is dependent on the severity of the winter. However, a notional figure of £24 million will be included in the forecasts for the Social Fund, provided to HM Treasury.
Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many pensioners aged 60 years and over claimed the annual £250 winter fuel payment in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) the UK in each year since its inception; 
(2) how many pensioners aged 80 years and over claimed the annual £400 Winter Fuel Payment in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) the UK in each year since its inception. 
For information on the number of payments made from 1999-2000 to 2006-07 I refer my hon. Friend to the written answer I gave him on 26 February 2008, Official Report, columns 1387-388. Figures for winter 2007-08 are not yet available.
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