Pensioners: Poverty

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 14th February 2019.

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Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Labour, Slough

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the number of pensioners living in poverty.

Photo of Guy Opperman Guy Opperman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The Government is committed to action that helps to alleviate levels of pensioner poverty. In 2018/19 we will spend £121.5 billion on benefits for pensioners, including £97 billion on the State Pension for this year. Between 2010 and 2018, we will have increased the basic State Pension by £1,450 a year.

In the early 1970s roughly 40% of pensioners were in poverty. Relative poverty after housing costs is now down to 16% - one of the lowest rates since comparable records began. The rates, and numbers, of pensioners in absolute poverty are all lower than 2010.

Pension Credit was introduced in October 2003 explicitly to help tackle pensioner poverty and from April 2018, the Standard Minimum Guarantee in Pension Credit will be the equivalent of over £1,500 per year higher in cash terms for single people and over £2,400 per year higher in cash terms for couples than it was in 2010.

We are committed to the Triple Lock for the remainder of this Parliament, guaranteeing that up to the full amounts of the basic and new State Pensions will rise by the highest of average earnings growth, price inflation, or 2.5% and in 2018/19 the increase was 3%. Between April 2010 and April 2018 the basic State Pension has risen by £660 a year more than if it had been just up-rated by earnings since April 2010. That is a rise of £1,450 a year in cash terms.

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