Oral Answers to Questions — Pensioner Poverty

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2 April 2001.

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Photo of Alistair Darling Alistair Darling Secretary of State for Social Security 12:00, 2 April 2001

The new Pension Service, which will be a dedicated service for pensioners, will, among other things, focus on how better to get across to people what is their entitlement. As a first step, the minimum income guarantee claim form, which was more than 40 pages long when originally introduced, has now been shortened to just 10 pages. Pensioners can also claim their entitlement by telephoning, and in future will be able to do so by other means as well.

We are anxious for two things to happen: we want pensioners to receive their entitlement, and we want that entitlement to be there in the first place. We will ensure that both the minimum income guarantee and the winter fuel payment, as well as other measures, are available to boost pensioners' incomes in retirement. That is crucial not just to Labour Members but, I believe, to the country as a whole.