To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
(1) what assessment he has made of the merits of introducing a system of automatic payments of benefits to people who are eligible for but not claiming pension credit or council tax benefit;
(2) what discussions he has had with Ministerial colleagues on sharing data in order to enable automatic payment of benefits.
I have regular meetings with ministerial colleagues on a range of issues relating to the assessment and payment of benefits.
The Government are determined to do everything they can to ensure that people get the benefit that they are entitled to, including using information more effectively. For example we already use sophisticated data matching to identify eligible non-recipients and then use a range of approaches to help encourage them to claim.
We have made considerable progress in making the process for claiming benefits more automatic. For example, in a new initiative starting this autumn, pensioners can claim housing benefit and council tax benefit with pension credit entirely over the phone without having to fill in and sign a form.