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Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 25th February 2020.

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Photo of Rosie Cooper Rosie Cooper Labour, West Lancashire

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to Age UK's briefing entitled Poverty in later life, published September 2019, what steps her Department is taking to tackle the rise in pensioner poverty.

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

As a result of the triple lock, from April 2020 (subject to Parliamentary approval) the full yearly amount of the basic State Pension will be around £700 higher than if it had been just up-rated by earnings, since April 2010. From April 2020, the Standard Minimum Guarantee in Pension Credit will increase by average earnings. This is the equivalent of over £2,100 per year higher in cash terms for single people, and over £3,200 per year higher in cash terms for couples than it was in 2010.

The Government is committed to action that helps to alleviate levels of pensioner poverty. There are 100,000 fewer pensioners in absolute poverty (before housing costs) than in 2009/10. Rates of material deprivation for pensioners are also at a record low. Since 2009/10 material deprivation for pensioners has fallen from 10% to 7% in 2017/18, and in 2019/20 the Government will spend around £100 billion on the State Pension.

1.6 million people are already claiming around £5.4 billion in Pension Credit. The Government wants to make sure that all pensioners eligible can claim the Pension Credit to which they are entitled. That is why on the 10 February 2020 we launched a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of Pension Credit and encourage those over State Pension age to check whether they are eligible.

To assist customers to prepare for retirement, the Government has introduced a number of initiatives including the launch of the online mid-life MOT page https://www.yourpension.gov.uk/mid-life-mot/ which provides guidance on how to obtain the right information to plan for retirement.

The employer led strategy on fuller working lives https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/587654/fuller-working-lives-a-partnership-approach.pdf aims to maximise the labour market opportunities for people to earn and save for longer reducing the risk of poverty once they have retired permanently from the labour market.

We are also committed to enabling more people to save while they are working, so that they can enjoy greater security and independence when they retire. Automatic enrolment into workplace pensions has succeeded in transforming workplace pension saving for millions of today’s workers. Participation in workplace pension saving rose from 55 per cent in 2012 to 87 per cent of eligible employees in 2018, showing the positive impact of the workplace pension reforms.

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