Benefit Take-up

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 15th October 2001.

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Photo of Ian McCartney Ian McCartney Minister for pensions, Department for Work and Pensions 2:30 pm, 15th October 2001

Following a request by my hon. Friend and his local council leader, I have agreed to go to his constituency on 8 November to discuss the pensions strategy and our wider plans for older people. [Laughter.] I do not know why hon. Members are laughing. Is that not what Ministers are supposed to do—go out and meet our fellow citizens? Mr. Willetts used to jeer when 2 million pensioners could not get a penny out of the last Government and were living in absolute poverty. This Government are going out to find those 2 million pensioners and give them their entitlement, which they were denied by the hon. Gentleman's party when it was in power.

I can tell my hon. Friend that we are improving uptake and increasing the resources devoted to that. Secondly, when the pensioner credit becomes available, all pensioners aged 65 and over will, through a new pension service, be invited to participate in a discussion so that we can ascertain immediately whether they are entitled to the pensioner credit. Some 5.5 million pensioner households will benefit from that policy.