11 May 2006
Missed pensions credit target underlines need for fundamental pensions reform
John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, today called for major reform of the pensions after the Government admitted it has failed to meet its own targets on pensions credits.
Mr Barrett made the call following the admission in the DWP Departmental Report 2006 that the Government’s PSA target of paying 3 million pensioner households Pension Credit by March 2006 will not be met.
John Barrett said:
“Once again the Government has missed one of its key targets in its war against poverty. Its failure to ensure that 3 million pensioner households are in receipt of Pension Credits highlights the ongoing failure of the Chancellor’s obsession with means-testing.
“Take-up of Pension Credit is not picking up, but grinding to a halt. By the end of February 2006 only 2.7 million pensioner households were receiving Pension Credits – continuing the low growth of the past year and leaving almost one million pensioner households without the financial support they are entitled to.
“Means-testing is simply unsustainable. The Government must accept that fundamental reform of the pension system is now needed. Ministers must bring forward proposals in the forthcoming White Paper to put an end to a system that is leaving thousands of pensioners in unnecessary poverty.”
· The Departmental Report is available at:
· The DWP has a PSA target that by March 2006, they will be paying Pension Credit to 3 million pensioner households. On p.61 of the Departmental Report published today, it says that ‘this target will not have been met’ when final figures are published in July, and that early estimates ‘indicate that 2.7 million households were receiving Pension Credit at the end of February 2006’.
· The Government’s latest estimate is that there are 3.75 million pensioner households eligible for pension credit.
· Mr Barrett has tabled parliamentary question to determine the current take-up rate across Edinburgh.