Government action to reduce pensioner poverty

The Coalition Government has outlined what steps it is proposing to take to help reduce pensioner poverty. In a Parliamentary Written Answer, the Minister of State confirmed the Government’s commitments to increase the state pension and to protect key benefits and schemes for older people.

To find out what benefits or schemes that you or a relative are eligible for, visit www.direct.gov.uk.

Mr Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he plans to take to reduce the level of pensioner poverty in Bexleyheath and Crayford. [6236]

Steve Webb: We will restore the earnings link for the basic state pension from April 2011, with a ‘triple guarantee’ that the basic state pension will increase by the highest of earnings, prices or 2.5%. In 2011, if the basic state pension is increased by more than earnings under the triple guarantee we intend that, as a minimum, all single pension credit recipients will benefit from the full cash value of this increase.

We will also protect key benefits for older people such as the winter fuel payment, free television licences, free bus travel, and free eye tests and prescriptions.

We want to ensure that older people receive the help that they are entitled to. We aim to simplify the benefit system and as a first step we will be looking to conduct a research study into the feasibility of using existing data to help to improve the take-up of pension credit.

We will help prevent people from falling into poverty in later life by simplifying the rules and regulations relating to pensions to help reinvigorate occupational pensions. We will encourage companies to offer high-quality pensions to all employees and will work with businesses and the industry to support auto enrolment.

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