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Welfare Reform

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Social Security – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th January 1999.

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Photo of Alistair Darling Alistair Darling Secretary of State for Social Security 12:00 am, 11th January 1999

The hon. Gentleman is on to a good point. If he read the pension proposals that I made at the end of last year, he would know that the Government are considering how we can improve that situation. Before Conservative Members get too excited, I point out that, for 20 to 30 years, people who have a small amount of money in the bank or a comparatively small occupational pension have discovered that they are not eligible to receive the help to which others are entitled.

We have made it clear that we are prepared to consider measures to ensure that the minimum pension guarantee will be available to more people. We shall do so by examining what disregards might be appropriate for capital and income. The hon. Gentleman is right to mention the problem. It has existed for many years, but the Government are considering it and are prepared to tackle it.