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John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of pensioners in pensioner poverty in (a) Glasgow North West constituency, (b) Glasgow and (c) Scotland. 
Our public service agreement Tackle poverty and promote greater independence and wellbeing in later life includes a range of indicators related to low income for pensioners. These are relative low income (below 50 and 60 per cent. contemporary median household income), and absolute low income (below 60 per cent. of 1998-99 median income uprated in line with prices), all measured after housing costs have been taken into account.
Latest information for Scotland on the number of pensioners below each of these thresholds is given in the following table. The data source does not allow us to provide robust numbers for estimates below this level.
|Number of pensioners falling below various thresholds of median household income, after housing costs, Scotland, 2006-07|
1. The income measures used to derive the estimates shown employ the same methodology as the Department for Work and Pensions publication Households Below Average Income (HBAI) series, which uses disposable household income, adjusted (or equivalised) for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living.
2. The figures are based on OECD equivalisation factors.
3. Figures are based on survey data and as such are subject to a degree of sampling and non-sampling error.
4. Number of pensioners in low-income households have been rounded to the nearest 10,000 pensioners.
Scottish Households Below Average Income 2006/07.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what recent steps his Department has taken to encourage the take-up of (a) carers allowance, (b) pension credit, (c) housing benefit and (d) council tax benefit; 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 3 November 2008]: Addressing pensioner poverty has been one of the Governments key priorities since 1997. The number of pensioners on relative low incomes has fallen from 2.9 million in 1998-99 to 2.1 million in 2006-07 (measured as below the threshold of 60 per cent. of contemporary median income after housing costs).
The pension credit claim process has been simplified to make it easier to claim. Customers no longer need to sign and return their pension credit claim forms, claims can be made entirely over the phone.
A simplified process has been introduced which will enable claims to housing benefit and council tax benefit made over the phone with pension credit, to be forwarded directly to the local authority without the need for a signaturethis is a significant improvement to the claim process and should benefit thousands of pensioners.
In February 2007, an additional question was introduced in the pension credit application process to identify relevant caring responsibilities in order to invite the customer, where appropriate, to claim carers allowance using a new, shortened, claim pack specifically designed for people of pension age.
The Pension, Disability and Carers Service have Joint Working Partnerships, live or at the implementation stage, with all 203 primary tier local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales. These partnerships enable the Pension Disability and Carers Service, local authorities and the voluntary sector to provide a single point of access to social care and benefit entitlement.
The Pension, Disability and Carers Service continues to promote the take-up of all pensioner benefits, entitlements and services through a range of marketing activities. Campaign activity in 2008-09 to promote the take-up of pension credit has utilised direct mail, local partnership activity and regional radio, press and outdoor advertising. In order to reach our key audiences more directly we are planning a series of targeted regional campaigns. The activity will promote the take-up of the full range of pensioner benefits and entitlements, focusing on relevant lead messages for the target audiences. DWP are also working closely with other Government Departments to promote campaigns, such as Keep Warm Keep Well and Act On CO2 to promote ways pensioners can save money on fuel bills and apply for grants to assist in energy efficiency measures.
More widely the Department for Work and Pensions and all its agencies work hard to ensure that a suitable range of information and advice is available on all the benefits it administers (including carers allowance, pension
credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit). The agencies, such as the Pension, Disability and Carers Service, also work closely with external stakeholders, to continuously improve their communication material.
Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate his Department has made of the monetary value of benefits that have not been claimed by pensioners as a result of the introduction of the three month backdating limit on 6 October 2008. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The information requested is not available. Information on the number of people who first received a deferral reward from age 70 is in the table. Figures for 1999 are not available.
|12 months to March each year||Number of customers|
|(1) Figures for 2000 are for six months to March only|
1. Numbers are rounded to the nearest 100.
2. Numbers are based on a 5 per cent. sample rated in line with the Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS) total case load, and are therefore subject to a degree of sampling variation.
3. New rules for deferral came into effect in April 2005 and lump payments became available from April 2006. These data were not available on the datasets until September 2006. A person who deferred their state pension before April 2005 would qualify for increments for the period up to April 2005 and may have a choice of either a lump sum payment or an increment for the period of deferral from April 2005. This means some people may have both an increment and a lump sum payment.
4. The number receiving a deferral reward is the number of people with a lump sum or increments for the latest data and the number of people with increments for the data prior to September 2006.
5. Data regarding increments prior to September 1999 are not sufficiently robust to be released.
6. Age 70 is defined as people who were aged 70 at the point when they first appear on the IFD scan.
Information Directorate (IFD) 5 per cent. sample